I was back visiting the kindergarten classes at General Currie last week. After being introduced to Counting Collections, the students and teachers were interested in being introduced to a new math routine. Because I had noticed they had been exploring gourds the week before when I visited, I used gourds to introduce the idea and thinking behind a WODB (which one doesn’t belong?). As is the case with most young students, the students stayed quite focused on one of the objects being “the” right one and we needed some prompting to look at various attributes – colour/s, shape, size, “bumpiness” – to think about why each gourd was unique within this set of gourds (how they are alike…all gourds, all have some orange). The students began to use language layering attributes together to describe uniqueness – “this one is the bumpiest and mostly all orange”.
After looking at the gourds together and talking through “justifying” their choices, I showed them a WODB from the website wodb.ca – one I often use when introducing WODBs to primary class. I asked the students to notice how the dice were the same and then how they were different and then to turn and talk to a math partner.
The students then moved on to some table time, choosing from more WODB experiences or working with counting collections. I just used masking tape to add a WODB frame to a table top and added a basket of fall leaves. The things the students noticed and their theories – “this one doesn’t belong because it has holes, it has holes because an animal was hungry and munched it” were interesting to listen in on. Lots of opportunities for sharing thinking and reasoning along with oral language development.
I also had copied some WODB grids for students to use with materials from the classroom. One of the kindergarten classes used a basket of blocks to create WODBs for each other. Some students began by making three items similar and one that was significantly different and then, as they played with the idea of a WODB a bit more, the students were able to explain a reason for each of the blocks not belonging in some way.
The routine of WODB emphasizes many of the curricular competencies in K-9 mathematics:
- use reasoning to explore and make connections,
- develop, demonstrate, and apply mathematical understanding through play, inquiry, and problem solving,
- communicate mathematical thinking in many ways,
- use mathematical vocabulary and language to contribute to mathematical discussions,
- explain and justify mathematical ideas and decisions.
Using WODBs as part of your math program provide opportunities to develop curricular competencies connected to curricular content.
Building on the exploration the students were doing with shapes, I left a copy of Christopher Danielson’s book Which One Doesn’t Belong? with the classes so they can continue thinking about shapes and WODBs!
I will be back to visit these classes in a few weeks and am looking forward to seeing and hearing how their mathematical reasoning and communication has developed!