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Ten Black Dots

an example of a ten black dots activity

Developing the activity:
Before starting to read the book, ask students “Can someone tell me what number is shown on the cover?” “How many dots are there?” Next, read the story to the children, pointing out the dots on each page and counting them as we go. After completing the story, show the students four different index cards that represent ten dots. Then ask them, “In what ways are these dots arranged on the index cards?” This will demonstrate the different ways a number can be represented by objects. (Answer: a circle, straight line, base ten, scattered) “How many dots are on each card?” Once students respond that there are ten dots on each card, ask them: “Does the way you arrange the dots make the number of dots different?” Next, ask, “What are other ways you can use ten black dots to make an object?” Then give each student a white piece of paper and ten black dot stickers. The students will be directed to place the ten black dots on their paper, arranged in a design that they will color. Examples should be shown by the teacher, as well as references back to the picture book. After students complete their picture, the teacher will write a sentence given by the student. (i.e. “Holly used ten black dots to make a caterpillar”) Students will then share their pictures with the rest of the group, counting out their dots to show ten.


Plans for engaging all students and ideas for keeping them on task:
For individuals or students who are very capable, invite them to make up their own story problem to contribute to the math equations. You could also ask them to represent the amount of dots for a given story problem and write the numbers for the equation. For individuals or students who catch on slowly, take your time at the beginning of the lesson. You can have individuals take turns counting out the dots on a given page of the picture book, or on the index cards/story problem examples. In order to engage all students in the activity, address questions to each of them to allow them the opportunity to contribute their ideas and show their understanding (or lack of) the concepts. To help students stay on track, ask them to count aloud with you and show you the numbers on their fingers or have them point to the objects.

bulletPrint an example to use for the dot story problem.


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Page last updated on March 16, 2005