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Number Puzzles

Wondering why we are playing with representing numbers in all grades from K through 5? We believe that children need opportunities to internalize many different ways that number are represented. Not only does this practice build fluency with number recognition, but it enables children to compare numbers in any possible way. In Brie’s group, matching pieces include representations of numbers in ten frames, arrays, tallies, and written words.

In order to compose their first puzzle, Brie’s group worked together to create little paper strips with the numbers 1 through 10, each represented in different ways. Beginning with the middle square, they made decisions about which numbers to place on each of the sides. Then they chose a matching number representation to add to each connecting piece until the puzzle was complete!

After sharing their puzzle with Clubhouse students last week, Brie’s students shared with Emmarose’s group. They watched J.S. and V.S. collaborate to solve the puzzle while talking out loud. Students listened to their peers ask questions, stumble through challenges, and make connections!

Brie’s students created their own puzzles by surveying their number representation bank for ideas and applying what they had learned from working as a group! Finally, they enjoyed solving each others’ puzzles!

Questions for home:

  • How do ten frames make it easier for you to count?

  • Is there one representation (ten frames, tallies, arrays, etc) that you can visualize most easily without counting?

  • What other type of mathematical information could you add to a blank puzzle?


Our Week at a Glance

Communication Literacy

Reading -

  • continuing to read folktales about how the sun came into the sky

  • identifying characteristics of folktales

  • brainstorming ideas for our own folktale story

  • silent reading and read aloud

Word study -

  • writing silly sentences using word pattern words

  • finding word pattern words in text

  • writing and drawing about how to be a friend

Writing -

  • journal writing

  • writing our folktale together

  • writing about folktale characters and setting

Patterns and Modeling

  • sharing their number representation puzzle with other groups at school

  • playing mystery number and learning about helpful questions to eliminate the largest number of possibilities

  • reviewing tally marks to count more easily

  • designing mini puzzles independently and solving each others’ puzzles


  • learning about how the sun’s light can be converted to electricity

  • studying how lightbulbs are made

  • designing experiments with mirrors, lasers, CDs, and prisms

  • beginning to assemble a shadow theatre for their exhibition

  • collecting lighting materials for their shadow play

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