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Using the Counter to Tell How Many

Using the Counter to Tell How Many

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Comprehensive Teacher's Guide Grades 1-2, Lesson 2-3
Comprehensive Teacher's Guide Grades 1-2, Lesson 2-3

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07/08/2013

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B
y loading blocks onto the Counter and setting the dials appropriately,children can group a quantity of single blocks in a way that matchesthe number’s base ten representation.Through this process,children candetermine the numeral that represents any given quantity.
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Counting Blocks on the Counter
Set out a group of 10 single blocks on a white mat or other identified workarea. Have the children count in unison as you move each block in turn toone side. Say,
Now let’s see how we could use the Counter to count these blocks.
As the class counts aloud, have 10children in turn take one block, load iton the Counter, and set the dial accord-ingly. When the tenth block is placed,the holder will slide down. The child who is at the Counter when this hap-pens may take the last block out, resetthe holder, and try again to place thefinal block. This may be repeated severaltimes before the child realizes that theholder slides down every time. Ask,
Why do you think this is happening?
Most children recognize that the holder is full, needs a cover, and should beloaded into the next place. Others canbe prompted with the question,
What do you think we should do with this block-of-10?
Once the block-of-10 is properly placed and a new holder to collect ones isput on the rack, have children set the dials. Many children look for a 10 onthe dial beneath the ones place and are quite surprised when they don’t findit. Let them keep looking and then ask them to set the dials to show whatthey actually see. It may take a while for some children to realize that eachdial corresponds only to the blocks in the holder directly above it.
How many single blocks are on the Counter now?
2-3
Using the Counter to Tell How Many
2-3
Focus
Placing single blocks on the Counter to form anumber’s base ten representation

When a holder is full,it slides off the Counter.Now we add acover and move the resulting block to the next place.

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If children are unsure, have them unpack the block-of-10 to check.Repeat this process until all children have participated in using the Counter to count 10 blocks.Next set out a group of 36 single blocks. Have the class again count aloud aschildren take turns loading the blocks on the Counter one by one and settingthe dials.
®
Packing Blocks-of-10
Show 10 blocks-of-10 and have the children count the blocks (by ones) as youmove them to one side. Say,
Now let’s see how we could use the Counter to count these blocks.
One by one, have ten children each take a block-of-10, put it on the Counter,and set the dials accordingly. When the tenth block-of-10 is placed, theholder will slide down. Most children will recognize that this means that theholder is full, needs a cover, and should be moved to the next place on theCounter. Then a new holder to collect tens is placed on the rack.Once again, children may look for a 10 on the dial beneath the blocks-of-10.Remind them that each dial corresponds only to the blocks in the holder directly above it.Repeat this process until all children have participated in using the Counter to count 10 blocks-of-10. You might have children count aloud as they placethe blocks. Sometimes they might count by tens (10, 20, 30, and so on), andsometimes they might count the tens by ones (1 block-of-10, 2 blocks-of-10,and so on). To emphasize the fact that the dial for the ones place didn’tchange, ask,
Why have you never had to change the dial for the single blocks?
Next give each child a block-of-10 and a single block. Have children taketurns loading their blocks on the Counter and setting the dials. When allblocks are on the Counter, have children tell the number in Digi-language(for example, depending on how many are in your class, “2 blocks-of-100,7 blocks-of-10, and 5 ones”).Over time, children should load many different collections of blocks to findand report their base ten representation. Be sure to include an example suchas 19 blocks-of-10 and 13 singles (203) to emphasize the importance of settingthe dial for the tens place at zero.
2-3 2-3

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Packing As Much As Possible
As children become more familiar with the grouping process, they may choose to pack the single blocks into holders without using the Counter or Counter mat. “Packing as much as you can”is a natural activity for children,and it is important for them to realize that they can do this for themselves, without any special tools. Once children have packed the blocks correctly,they have a collection with no more than 9 blocks of any one size. They canthen immediately identify the number by reporting how many blocks thereare (0-9) of each size.To identify the number of blocks of one particular size within a collection,children may find it helpful to place them upright in a holder. The holder keeps the blocks organized and gives visual clues as to their number. For example, children may learn to recognizethe way 9 blocks look in a holder andnot needto count them. Children can also usethe half oval in the middle of the blockas an indicator for 5 blocks. In this way,children can begin to recognize numbersin relation to 5 (half a holder) and 10 (afull holder).
Practicing Key Ideas
Fill ’Em Up
Children fill up different-sized cups,containers,or even their shoes with as manyblocks as they can.They count the blocks by ones as they load them onto theCounter and set the dials.Children record the number of blocks-of-100,blocks-of-10,and single blocks by using stamps,drawing pictures,or writing numerals.
What’s in the Jar?
Set up a variety of jars holding different numbers of single blocks and label the jarsA,B,C,and D.Children load the blocks onto the Counter in order to determine thenumber in each jar.They record the jar letters and write the numbers (or use stampsor make drawings) to show how many blocks are in each jar.
2-3 2-3
Packing blocks in the holders provides visual clues:One lessthan 10,so there are 9.And one more than 5,so there are 6.