Math Access for Teachers and Home Child Care Providers

Over Under Through

By navigating an obstacle course, children will understand the concepts of directional words -
moving over, under, around, and through.

Content Area Standard Target
• Measurement
• Geometry
• Understand measurable attributes of objects and the units, systems, and processes of measurement
• Apply appropriate techniques, tools, and formulas to determine measurements
• Specify locations and describe spatial relationships using coordinate geometry and other representational systems
• Use visualization, spatial reasoning, and geometric modeling to solve problems
• Describe, name, and interpret direction and distance navigating space and apply ideas about direction and distance
• Describe, name, and interpret relative positions in space and apply ideas about relative position
• Find and name locations with simple relationships such as “under” and in coordinate systems such as maps
• Develop common referents for measures to make comparisons and estimates
• Compare and order objects according to attributes
• Describe and name relative positioning when traveling – over, under, around, and through
• Describe an object by its shape and location
Obtain the Materials

• The book, Over, Under, Through by Tana Hoban
• A variety of different objects such as cones, boxes, tunnels, chairs, empty 2-liter plastic bottles

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. Scatter obstacles throughout the classroom.  If you don’t have a tunnel, you can make a tunnel by draping a sheet or blanket over some chairs.  Set up the plastic bottles like an obstacle course so the children have hop over them.  Make sure there are obstacles that the children go under, over, around, and through.  Be creative!  Obstacles should be spaced throughout the movement space so there is plenty of space between and around objects.
2. Explain that today’s math activity is going to involve a lot of movement.  We are going to talk about words we use when we travel, “Over the river, through the mountains…”

Engage the Children

1. Read the book, Over, Under, Through
2. Introduce the obstacles scatter around the room.  Ask the children to find and explore as many ways possible to travel around, over, under, or through the obstacles.
3. Before you let them go, remind them that while they are traveling, they are to remain safe while they think about which objects are better for traveling over, under, around, and through.
4. After the children have had a chance to travel through the obstacle course, ask them to point out which objects are best to under, around, over, and through.  Use a checklist to record the children’s answers.

• Have the children draw a map of the obstacle course and indicate how they navigated each object.  They could color code their movement: red could be used if they went under an object, yellow if they went over an object, blue if they went around an object, and green if they went through the object.

Encourage Vocabulary

• Over – An upward and forward direction across something (e.g., “You can travel over the barrel.”)
• Around – On every side of (e.g., “We went around the cones.”)
• Through – Moving in one side and out of the other side (e.g., “Move through the tunnel.”)
• Under – In or into a position that is below or beneath something (e.g., “You crawled under the chair.”)
• Direction – The course or path on which something or someone is moving (e.g., “Note the direction in which you moved through the obstacle course.”)

Glossary of MATH vocabulary

Supporting Children at Different Levels

Toddlers   Pre-K

Toddlers may:

• Have limited vocabulary and difficulty with word retrieval.
• Have difficulty observing their position in relation to other objects.

Pre-K Children may:

• Be ready to increase their vocabulary by adding more directional words to describe how they travel.
• Be able to demonstrate their understanding of directional words by not only describing the way in which they travel but by writing and drawing about them as well.

Home child care providers may:

• Use just one directional (under) in the beginning.
• Ask questions that include the directional words so that they children can answer “yes” or “no” to the questions.  “Are you going through the tunnel?"

Home child care providers may:

• Have the children draw a map of the obstacle course and indicate how they navigated each object.  They could color code their movement:  red could be used if they went under an object, yellow if they went over an object, blue if they went around an object, and green if they went through the object.

Books

• Over, Under, Through by Tana Hoban (New York: Aladdin, 2008)

Music and Movement

Outdoor Connections

• Set up an obstacle course outside.  Have a kiddie pool that the children must wade through.  You can be much more creative and messy outside.

Web Resources

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