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.
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!