Math Access for Teachers and Home Child Care Providers

Circles and Bears

Children will roll die to determine the number of circles and then the numbers of bears in those circles.  After collecting that data, they then will determine how many groups of bears they have for a total number of bears.

Content Area Standard Target
• Numbers and Operations
• Data Analysis and Probability
• Understand numbers, ways of representing numbers, relationships among numbers, and number systems
• Formulate questions that can be addressed with data and collect, organize, and display relevant data to answer them
• Understand meanings of operations and how they relate to one another
• Compute fluently and make reasonable estimates
• Use mathematical models to represent and understand quantitative relationships
• Formulate questions that can be addressed with data and collect, organize, and display relevant data to answer them
Obtain the Materials

• Dice
• Recording Sheet (can be found attached to the parent letter - click on "Share with Parents" on the right to download and print)
• Counting bears

Note: Small parts create a choking hazard for children. Make sure that all materials you choose to use for an activity or lesson with children meet safety requirements. Small parts are not appropriate for children who are 5 years of age or younger.

Introduce the Activity

1. Explain that today they are going to a plan a game called Circles & Bears. The game involves groups of circles and groups of bears and then counting how many bears you have all together.
2. Explain that Circles & Bears is a one-person game and it is not a winning game. The children will be playing against themselves.
3. Model how to roll the dice. Say: “No CRAZY rolls!” and show them what you mean by rolling the dice in a very exaggerated way across the table. Let the children try this once and then ask them why “Crazy rolls” would not be good for playing this game. Dice rolls should stay on the table and in their own space so your dice doesn’t get mixed up with other player’s dice and you can concentrate on playing the game and not spend all of your time retrieving the dice.

Engage the Children

1. Introduce the game. This game can be introduced to the entire class. Use modeling and questioning to ensure understanding.
2. Each child receives a recording sheet. Explain that the 7 boxes of the recording sheet are to record the 7 turns they will take and record their answers. There are two rolls per turn. The first roll is to draw the circles and the second roll is to record the amount of bears that will go into each circle.
3. Roll the die and draw the corresponding number of circles in box 1. If the child rolls a 4, draw 4 circles. Make sure that the circles are big enough to put the bears in but not too big that they take up the entire recording box.
4. On the same turn, roll the die and put the corresponding number of bears into each circle. If the child rolls a 2, put 2 bears into each circle
5. After the circles and bears are recorded, the children will count the number of bears in all of the circles. For example, if on their first roll, they has 4 circles with 2 bears in each circle, they will record 8 for the total number of bears.
6. Continue playing until all of boxes are filled.  Once all of the boxes are filled and all 7 turns have been taken, the children should count the total number of bers they collected.
7. After each child has had a turn to play the game, pose the following questions:
• “What is the fewest number of circles you can get in one turn?”
• “What is the fewest number of bears you can collect in one turn?”
• “What is the greatest number of bears you can collect in one turn?”
• “What is the greatest number of circles you can draw in one turn?”
• Ask the children what would happen if there was a zero on the dice.
• “If I rolled a zero, how many circles would I draw?”
• “If I had 3 circles and then rolled a zero, how many bears would I put into those circles?
• Have the children explain their answers.

• Have the children write the number equation that accompanies the picture.  For example, if the child rolled 4 for circles and 2 for bears then they would write, 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 = 8. Four groups of two equal eight.

Encourage Vocabulary

• Groups – Equal sets (e.g., "How many groups of 3 bears do you have?")
• Equals – To be the same in number or amount (e.g., "Explain that equal is the amount. “Four groups of two bears equals eight bears.")
• Greatest – Largest amount; the one with the most (e.g., "What is the greatest number of bears you can collect in one turn?")
• Fewest – A small number, opposite to many (e.g., "What is the fewest number of bears you can collect in one turn?")

Glossary of MATH vocabulary

Supporting Children at Different Levels

Toddlers   Pre-K

Toddlers may:

• Not yet count beyond ten.
• Need to work on their fine motor skills.

Pre-K Children may:

• Easily count from 1 to 36.

Home child care providers may:

• Use a dice that has numbers 1-3 on it.  That way, when the children go to count the total number of bears, the will be reinforcing their one-to-one correspondence with numbers 1 – 10.
• Transfer the playing board onto a bigger sheet of paper.  12’ x 18’ sheets of paper should be larger enough.

Home child care providers may:

• Have the children write the number equation that accompanies the picture.  For example, if the child rolled 4 for circles and 2 for bears then they would write, 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 = 8.  Four groups of two equal eight.

Books

• One Is a Snail, Ten is a Crab: A Counting by Feet Book by April Pulley Sayre (Somerville, Massachusetts: Candlewick, 2006)
• Each Orange Had 8 Slices (Counting Books) by Paul Giganti, Jr. (New York: Greenwillow Books, 1999)
• How Many Legs?: Learning to Multiply Using Repeated Addition by Kristine Lalley (New York: Powerkids Press, 2005)

Music and Movement

Outdoor Connections

• Using chalk, make big circles on the pavement.  Collect like items to be placed into the circles.  Place the same number of items into each circle.  Have the children identify the number of circle and the number of items in each circle – “We have 3 circles and 3 pails in each circle.  How many pails do we have?”  “We have 3 groups of 3 pails.”  Change the number of circles and the number of items placed inside the circles.

Web Resources

# Comment on this lesson

 To report a problem with the site, please email us. © 2011. M.A.T.H.