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Introducing the Larger Blocks

Introducing the Larger Blocks

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Published by Digi-Block
Comprehensive Teacher's Guide Grades 1-2 Lesson 2-1
Comprehensive Teacher's Guide Grades 1-2 Lesson 2-1

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Published by: Digi-Block on Jul 08, 2013
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07/08/2013

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25
 2-1
Introducing the Larger Blocks
2-1
T
he Digi-Block materials enable chil-dren to discover,for themselves,theimportant relationship between theplaces in our number system.In thissection,children make and name succes-sively larger blocks while seeing thateach larger block has 10 of the next-size-smaller block inside.It is important for children to recognizethat the blocks all look the same exceptfor size.This similarity encourages themto conclude that they can operate on allthe blocks in much the same way.Thus,they can count the larger blocks by ones, just as they did the single blocks.
®
Making a Larger Block with Ones
Give each small group of children a container of singleblocks and a few small holders. Let the children exper-iment with different ways to put the blocks in theholders. Children may discover on their own that they can create a larger block using these materials. If they don’t, present the task as a challenge:
How can you make a larger block using the small blocks andthe holders?
Allow time for all children to build the larger blocks and todiscuss how to do so.Some children may suggest that they can create a larger block by covering one holder with another even whenit is not full. If no child brings this up, you should wonder aloud if that would work. Ask the children totry this and see what happens when they try to pickup such a block by one of its halves. They will discover that the cover slides or that the block falls apart—untilit is full, it is not a complete block. Through this
Focus
Making larger blocks that correspond to tens,hundreds,and thousands
 
The shape similarity among blocks of all sizes is a key featureof the Digi-Block materials.Stand small blocks in the holder in an uprightposition.When the holder is full,use anotherholder as a cover.
 
26
 2-1 2-1
design feature, the Digi-Block system ensures that there are always exactly 10blocks inside a larger block.Now that the children have created a larger block, ask them how many smallblocks are inside it. Make sure that children have many opportunities to countthe number of single blocks inside, convincing themselves that the answer isalways the same: 10. For many children, this idea may need to be confirmedrepeatedly, over time. Tell the children, or elicit from them, that a good namefor the larger block is block-of-10.It is best, at least initially, to call this item a
block-of-10
rather than a
ten block
or 
ten
. The preferred term emphasizes two important ideas: (1) that this object isone block, and (2) at the same time, it is made up of 10 ones. Also, refer tothe holders as simply that,
holders
. They hold ones, but they become a block-of-10 when closed. With this duality, to call them either 
ones-holders
or 
tens-holders
 would be confusing. The single blocks may be referred to as
 singles
or 
ones,
 whichever you prefer.
®
Making Successively Larger Blocks
 Just as children discovered that they could make a block-of-10, they now usethe blocks to construct a block-of-100 and a block-of-1000. Give each childsome blocks-of-10 and some larger holders. Ask,
How can you make a larger block using these blocks and holders?
Children will naturally mimic the way in which they packed single blocksto make a block-of-10. That is, they place blocks in the holder in an uprightposition. When the holder is full, they place another holder on top as a cover.As with the blocks-of-10, if the holder isn’t full, the cover slides off or theblock falls apart, signaling that the block is not complete. Ask,
How many blocks-of-10 are there in one of these larger blocks?
 Encourage the children to remove the cover to count. Children will need todo this repeatedly, over time, before they realize that the answer is always thesame: 10.A few children may know that 10 tens is equal to 100, but many will not. Encourage the children to unpack the blocks-of-100 to blocks-of-10. At thatpoint, they can either remove the covers and count the single blocks inside,or unpack the blocks-of-10 as well and then count the single blocks. Oncethey confirm that there are 100 ones, identify the block as a block-of-100.Also give children the opportunity to make a block-of-100 from a collectionof single blocks. They should continue to explore the relationships amongsingle blocks, blocks-of-10, and blocks-of-100 throughout the unit.
 
27
 2-1 2-1
Some children may ask whether they can create even larger blocks. Whenappropriate, bring out the largest holders and have 10 children bring their blocks-of-100 to build a block-of-1000. Review the key idea that a largeblock must contain exactly 10 of the next-size-smaller blocks.
Safety note
: A block-of-1000 weighs 18 pounds. Young children should notattempt to carry it without adult supervision. Dropping this much weightcould cause injury.
®
Counting the Larger Blocks
Children can count any of the larger blocks in the same way as they countthe single blocks. To explore this idea, have children work in pairs. One childmakes a design with the single blocks and the other child copies it with theblocks-of-10. Each child then counts the blocks in his or her design. Over time, children should realize that if the larger design is identical to the smaller one except for the size of the blocks,then the number of blocks-of-10must be the same as the number of single blocks.Children can then repeat the activity using blocks-of-10 for the originaldesign and blocks-of-100 for the copy.These activities help children becomefamiliar with counting more than 9 blocks-of-10 or blocks-of-100, and thus withcounts such as “14 blocks-of-10” and “12blocks-of-100,” which they will need intheir later work with computation.Continue to emphasize the idea that wecan count blocks-of-10 and blocks-of-100 by ones as children pursue later counting activities. Whenever childrencount blocks-of-10 by tens (saying “10, 20, 30”) or blocks-of-100 by hundreds (saying “100, 200, 300”), always ask,
Is there another way to count this?
Remind them that they can always count the tens or hundreds by ones,as “1, 2, 3 blocks-of-10” or “1, 2, 3, 4, 5 blocks-of-100.”
When children build identical designs with blocks of differentsizes and then count the blocks,they see that larger blocks canbe counted the same way as single blocks.

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