One of the elements of The Studio at Grauer that teachers often notice is the collection of numerals we have in baskets and trays on our shelves. I have collected these over the years and find them in craft and scrapbooking stores, thrift stores, Habitat for Humanity ReStore, and Urban Source on Main Street in Vancouver. I am always on the lookout for numerals. Students use them in their play and investigations, ordering them, using them to label/represent their collections or sets of materials or to use as purposeful numbers in their creations (addresses, phone numbers, parts of a story, etc).
Just to clarify some terms…
Digit - A digit is a single symbol used to make numerals. 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 are the ten digits we use in our number system to make numerals.
Numeral - A numeral is a symbol that stands for a number.
Number - A number is a count or measurement that represents an idea in our mind about a quantity. Numerals are often used to represent a number.
It is how these materials are used that leads to them becoming called numbers – they are used to connect meaning to the symbols by matching the symbol to a set or quantity or are put in order/sequence which gives meaning to the symbols. They can also be used to represent the number in an expression or equation.
I chose to make my most recent set of glass gems using the digits 0-9. This way students can put them together to create different numerals/numbers to label their representations/sets/quantities.
Materials needed: large glass gems (found at Michael’s and some dollar stores), foam paintbrush, Mod Podge and number stickers or cutouts
Instructions: Using the flat side of the glass gem, apply a light coat of Mod Podge and lay a numeral upside down, centred on the back of the gem. Press down and smooth surface so that the numeral adheres and there are not air bubbles between the surfaces. Let dry for a couple of minutes and then apply a coat of Mod Lodge to the entire surface of the flat side of the glass gem. Let dry for 20-30 minutes and then apply a second coat. Let dry and then they are ready to be used.
We have also created materials similar to this by adhering stickers to tree cookies/slices or to smooth stones. It’s just handy to have a collection of these and students find all sorts of ways to use them.