Discovering the blocks or Number Town Game
We used white board, Mortensen Math blocks, markers and imagination.
The idea was to create a Number Town, with each area assigned to different numbers, so kids can get familiar with their new blocks.
That is how we started….
As you can see there are carrots and sweet potatoes growing in 2s vegetable patch, flower is growing in 1s garden ( we added tons more later 🙂 ), there were trees and boats in all other areas of Town. You can let your imagination soar!
Then we added a twist to it.
Numbers still can be only in their assigned neighborhoods, but since “numbers are made up of numbers” we were able to improvise more. You can see this parking lot in 4s neighborhood. We can make 4 out of 1, 2 and 3 different blocks and combinations. It can be just 4, or it can be 1+3, 2+2, 1+1+2, 1+1+1+1. Kids had fun discovering that! You can limit this activity to needing to use 2 blocks for every figure — then you will be learning what two numbers make any number — very very useful. Or you can do free play and see how many different addends kids can use to make their imaginative Number Town residents.
Check out the Boat (4+1+5) and diving board (9+1) in 10s neighborhood. And on the right there are a couple of stand alone trees ( 9+0), a palm (8+1) and sun/cloud combo (5+4) in 9s neighborhood.
Then kids wanted to bring more fun to the game, they wanted to build more elaborate numbers. No problem, see that airplane? It is on its way out of town carrying some number passengers I am sure. It does not really belong to any neighborhood we see on the map, so to “make it legal” kids needed to “call its number” and write an equation to prove it — so there it was our Airplane with number 13 (4×3+1)!
Some more additions 🙂
This game has unlimited possibilities, you can play it with toddlers who just learning basic numbers, you can practice additions and parts of the numbers, you can do algebra with it, possibilities are limitless and honestly it was so much fun that I had hard time persuading my kids to wrap it up and go eat lunch 🙂