Design a Game

An important part of the kindergarten Every Day Math program is games…dice games, card games, number games and more! So for our April Family Stem Project, families were tasked with creating a game. This meant that students had free range to develop the rules, the number of players, the name, and of course, the purpose! Look at what the students came up with!

Of course, once each student described their game concept, we had to play! What fun it was exploring these different games!

Gingerbread Math

One of the concepts we explore in math is number stories (or word problems as I knew them when I was in school.) Oh, how word problems terrified me….to the point that in high school algebra, when I came to a word problem on an exam, I would simply skip them!! (Now, I know that doesn’t show perseverance or determination!)

In kindergarten, we explore number stories several different ways. First, I make number story examples meaningful, using students’ own names and characteristics, classroom events, and other real-life situations. We start by reading the number story and identifying any important words. We act them out. We illustrate them. Then we tie numbers and math symbols to our number stories.

Today we explored number stories using paper gingerbread cookies that students could manipulate. Take a peek:


Students each drew two jars. We discussed that “altogether” means we are adding the items together. Therefore 5+5=10.

For this next one, students suggested they draw two friends. They gave three cookies to each friend, because equal means dividing the cookies so each person has the same amount. But then a student realized that the number story said “How can WE share them equally?” meaning the baker is included in the sharing!


┬áSo we added a third person to the mix….making the equation 2+2+2=6.

According to Everyday Math, “Number stories provide a natural bridge from spoken to mathematical symbolic language. Children cross this bridge in stages, at first using everyday language to tell number stories, then gradually incorporating mathematical language, and ultimately using mathematical symbols to model their stories.” It is my goal to make students feel so comfortable using mathematical language and symbols, that when they are faced with number stories in high school, they feel confident in solving them.

Tricky Teens

Those teen numbers are always so tricky! Today we took a closer look at them. First students watched a music video:

I asked students to make the number 10 with their fingers. Easy. Then I asked them to make the number 11. Looks of confusion… student said, “But I don’t have 11 fingers!” I asked how they could solve that problem? After lots of chatter, a student excitedly said, “How about I use ten fingers and my friend uses one finger!” Aha!


I quickly paired students up and had them choose a teen number card. Their activity was to make the number on the card using their ten fingers and how ever many of their partners fingers as were needed. Then we switched roles. Though this lesson is about recognizing teen numbers, it quickly morphed into an introduction to place value!

We then built teen numbers using unifix cubes, transferring the knowledge that each teen number has one group of ten and some ones….TRICKY!! But physically building the numbers is always super helpful.



We finished the lesson with a quick Math Journal activity that compiled all the skills introduced into one worksheet.