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Unifix Cube Extension

December 17, 2021

Building Blocks Math: Weeks up to now incorporate the following ongoing Big Ideas:

  • Math is numbers, shapes and patterns
  • Counting tells how many, order number and lengths 
  • Math can be explored through materials
  • Groups can be named with numbers, counts to 5-10, compares small amounts
  • Recognizing, manipulating and build shapes
  • Subitizing

This week’s math vitamin comes directly from an integrated preschool classroom at the Capuano school. We introduced masking tape to encourage children to engage or re-engage with an everyday math manipulative-Unifix cubes

After many opportunities to explore Unifix cubes, which included building and some simple pattern work, a challenge was offered. Can you build across the circular table? A piece of masking tape was placed across the table so children had a line to follow. Soon there were several pieces of tape and several children. 

Extension/Modification. Use a dice or subitizing card. The child can add on based on the roll of the dice.

Question/Provocation:  How many more Unifix cubes do you think you will need to get to the other side?

Two children connecting Unifix cubes across a masking tape line
Three children connecting Unifix cubes across lines of tape on a circular table

The children here are learning about shapes so the next step was to make shapes with the tape. The challenge was to name the shape and create it using Unifix cubes. Children worked individually and together to follow the tape and build the shape. 

Extension/Modification: build a simple AB pattern. Add shape picture cards. 

Question/Provocation: What other shapes could we build?

The next step came directly from a child who decided the triangle and square together was a school with children. With some tape and a permanent marker to draw faces, we soon had a class full of children and teachers. The 3 cubes towers were the children and the 4 cubes teachers. They each had different expressions, and soon children were role-playing school. The level of engagement was high, with great conversation and problem-solving.

Extensions/Modification: add wood scenery to build out the school further.

Question/Provocation: What else can we make and add to the school?

Unifix cube and tap school with Unifix cube tower children and teachers inside
 Five small Unifix towers with tape attached and faces drawn with a marker

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