Number Clothesline Test Run

We (our district’s 2 Intermediate Math Liaisons) are doing a “Getting Started with Number Talks” workshop on our ProD day this upcoming Monday.  This is the last Number Talks workshop we will offer this year, and we have decided to open it to K-10 teachers.  We have been getting quite a few requests for Number Talks in primary and secondary grades, so we thought we would stretch ourselves.

For part of our workshop, we are going to showcase the Number Clothesline as a nice complement for Number Talks.  In the past, we have done this activity with fractions, decimals, and percentage cards (see this post), but we wanted to try to differentiate a bit for our primary and secondary attendees.  I have been intrigued by the idea of using a double clothesline for algebra concepts and so for our secondary extension, we are going to try this activity from Andrew Stadel’s Estimation 180 website.

I was trying to imagine what a beginning clothesline might look like for our early primary students, and so I made up some cards with numbers, dots, ten frames and fingers (after reading this fabulous article by Jo Boaler).  I thought I would do a test run this weekend with my own kiddos (Kindergarten and Grade 2).

We set up the double number line in the living room and this is how it went down…

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We started with the numbers all mixed up and I asked them to help me fix it…
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A standoff…   (My oldest son (blue shirt) doesn’t have dirt all over his face… we forgot it was moustache day at school today to celebrate the end of Mo-vember, so he took it upon himself to draw one on.)
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Using the 5 card to measure out how much space needs to be left for the missing 3 and 4 cards.
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Watching big brother make enough space for the missing cards.
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My little guy was pretty pumped about the hand cards.  Took him a bit to figure out where “neuf” would go on the bottom if there was no “neuf” up top (french immersion is working!).
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A 15!!!!
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Big guy using the 10 card to help him figure out how far over the 15 should go.  Little guy was pretty stumped by the “zero” hand for a while – he couldn’t really tell what number it was supposed to be – kept guessing it was a four.
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A 20!! Not enough room – we’ll put it way over here!
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Another “neuf!”  We already have one!  They decided to start doubling them up.

Overall, a pretty successful test run.  A few thoughts…

  • They both enjoyed the activity, especially the different types of pictures.
  • They were both disappointed that there were no numbers between 10 and 20 for the bottom number line.  I can’t really do that with fingers, but maybe I will make ten frame cards up to 20 and look for domino pictures (at least up to 15’s… do dominos go up to double 20’s?).
  • As usual, I am impressed with how kids solve problems when they are left to themselves to figure out what makes sense.  They didn’t need me to help them with anything – they figured out how to make the right spaces, what to do about missing numbers, what to do about double numbers etc. all on their own.  Another good reminder that sometimes the most powerful teaching is to set the stage carefully, ask good questions and then stand back and let the kids do the thinking!!

If you would like to have these cards for your class, you can download them below.  I will update this file if I manage to make some more ten frame or domino cards, but for now they only have numbers 1-10 in the dots, hands and ten frames.

Downloadable Primary Clothesline Cards

 

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