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# Ann goes shopping again

Published about 1 year ago by Ann Baker

Okay! I admit it! I've been shopping again.

This time though, I needed supplies from Oﬃce Works. I couldn't resist walking down all the aisles and low and behold I found some foam numerals. A packet of 350 numerals was very cheap. I had to have them.

I could see immediately what fun we could have with them at my problem-solving workshop. Needless to say, I have been playing with them ever since.

## Here are some ideas for making the most of this resource:

• I packaged them into snap lock bags 0 to 9 and was delighted to find that I could make 24 complete sets.
• I used them to make magic squares; it’s so easy to manipulate and move the numbers around.

Then took them into an early year’s class (Reception, Year 1) for a mental routine.

## Mental Routine

Each student was given a packet and asked to put the numbers out in front of them. As always, it was interesting to watch how students went about it and how much information can be gleaned from observation. I saw:

• Students randomly set them out and some numbers were incorrectly oriented.
• Students systematically found 1 then 2 until their line was ordered and complete.
• A very few demonstrated proportional use of an imaginary empty number line. For instance, finding 5 and placing it in the middle, finding 7 and leaving a space and so on until the line was complete.

Closed Questions The finger race - pointer finger at the ready! Quickly as you can point to number 3 Quickly as you can point to the number between … after … before?

Open Questions I am thinking of a number, less than … more than … between … What might it be? I am thinking of a number in the first/second half of the line what might it be? The number l am thinking of is closer to 10 than it is to 1 what might it be?

Note: In both the Closed and Open Questions sections I am rehearsing the language that I want the learners to use in the last part of the mental routine, which is: Flip Questions And of course, we finish with the Guess my Number game. The photos below demonstrate how easily the foam numbers can be moved to model the questions and keep track of which numbers are left.

Want to learn more about making Mental Routines? Ann has an on-line course that will teach you how! Or check out a free sample here.

# Guess what?

I had lots of zeros left in the packet so could feel a decimal version to tenths coming on.