Number Sense Rings

Since we're going full-bore Common Core in kindergarten this year (at least here in Oklahoma) I've been studying the standards. I've got to say - I really like the idea of getting in depth with number sense. I've attended several Singapore Math training sessions and found that while some of the ideas were above my grade level, a lot of the ideas were just perfect for kindergarten. I found that this approach focuses on number sense to a degree we hadn't taken it to before.

Way back in August of last year I shared my number sense rings that I made after attending my first Singapore Math workshop. These will be even more useful this year in teaching in depth number sense, so I decided to share them again! I made my set as a whole group activity. We all gathered on the rug and made the rings together. It was a very good way for me to tell who had difficulties conserving numbers and counting! Once we had the sets made I could then use them for all sorts of activities!

As you can see, the rings are made from chenille stems and pony beads. I chose a different color for each number so that it was easy to differentiate them from each other. I store them in two separate ziploc bags: 1-5 in one bag and 6-10 in the other - and I've labeled on the front which color goes with which number. It absolutely does not matter which color you pick for which number - I actually had my kiddos vote as we went along, just to keep them engaged in the whole process of making the rings.

When I made these with my class, I gave each child one stem at a time and placed a pile of the appropriate color beads in front of every 3-4 students. Then they had to count out the right number of beads to place on their ring. Once they had the beads on their ring they got a buddy to check it (I was watching those that had the most trouble of course) and then they twisted the ends together to form the ring. This was a bit hard for those with poor fine motor skills, so you might have to help out there, to make sure the pointy end gets twisted down and is not poking out at small hands!

These rings are great counting practice for students even after they are made. You can give them a complete set of rings and have them lay them out in number order (or place them on their arm as "bracelets" from most to least). It is also a great way to practice decomposing a number. In the picture above you can see that the ring on the bottom left has 9 beads - divided into three groups of three. Another child might discover that 9 is also a group of 4 plus a group of 5. Still another might say 9 is actually  2 and 7.

Sometimes I would give these rings to the children with a dry erase board and have them write down all the different ways they could group the beads on their ring. It was always an engaging activity for them because they enjoyed the tactile nature of the chenille stems and the ability to manipulate the beads. This is a great beginning addition/subtraction activity, although of course the kiddos don't know that that's what they're doing. I love for them to be able to explore numbers and be able to fully grasp them before I start in with addition or subtraction. It's also a great tool for teaching odd and even - just have the students separate the beads so that there are two equal groups - if one bead is left out then that number is odd!

Here's the list of materials if you want to make your own set of 1-10 rings. Lakeshore Learning has a ready made set too, but this is very inexpensive and easy to make yourself!

10 pipe cleaners per child.
10 different colors of pony beads. To figure out how many of each color you'll need, just times the number of the ring with how many students you have. For example, in a class of 18 you'll need 180 beads for the #10 rings, 162 beads for the #9's and 144 beads for the #8's etc. It is much easier to figure this out at home rather than in the aisle of the craft store!

I am working on some more math ideas, which I'll be sharing with you soon! It's funny, math was one of my least favorite subjects in school but now it's my favorite thing to teach!

8 Rustle Up A Response!:

Lisa R. said... Reply to comment

I love the idea of using these bracelets to teach addition or subtraction!! Such a cute & beneficial idea!
Learning Is Something to Treasure

Pam Schmidt said... Reply to comment

This is crazy wonderful!!!! Our district required K/1st to use Common Core Standards last year. We were moving so fast with the first year of all of this, that we felt there was more to improve upon in our 2nd yr. This will be an important activity that will be useful for a long time during the year. Do you find it's important to make sure Johnny gets his own bag each time? Or can the bag be picked up by any kid?

Jennifer K. said... Reply to comment

@Pam Schmidt

Hi Pam!

Actually I store all of the rings together in two bags. All of the 1-5 rings are in the first bag (kind of stacked up and slid into the bag in seperate little piles) and 6-10 in the other bag. This way if we're working with the #9 I can just pull that stack out of the bag and have them passed around - there's very little difference between the rings, as long as you make sure no is making them too small. I store both bags in one of my crate seats for easy access. If it's a center activity then I just take out 4 rings for each number etc.

Thanks for the comment!

Jennifer @ Herding Kats In Kindergarten

Elizabeth said... Reply to comment

Math used to be my least favorite, it's my favorite (and only subject). You can do so many great things with it...and it looks like you are doing just that :)

VickyVinas said... Reply to comment

I have been wondering about making something like that to review numbers. I went over numbers and counting so many different ways last year but counters can be so messy this is a great alternative and a fun whole group activity for the first weeks of school! So adding it to my plans!

- Vicky

Kindergarten Myles said... Reply to comment

Funny timing on your post as I just made these today. I had made 8s and 9s with my kinders last year. They really enjoyed making using them to solve and create their own word problems and to write fact families. So I dug out materials and made 4-10 with my own children today. We did a different color chenile stem for each number and we ended up using pearl beads.

EmBellish said... Reply to comment

I'm totally the same way with math - I loved it in school and now I love teaching it. Your students are lucky! :)

Tangled with Teaching

Heather said... Reply to comment

After I went to a training last summer, I created these bracelets as well. I used them in third grade to help with those friends who still had trouble with making 10 and then I used them again with multiplication when they needed help using repeated addition. I can't wait to use them this year with my new kinder friends!!
Kickin' it in Kinder

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