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Math Tubs

Kim Sampson
Daves Creek Elementary School
Forsyth County Schools


Math Tubs are a time when the students gain an understanding of mathematical concepts through the use of manipulatives. They are hands on approach to make mathematical connections. While at math tubs, the students are able to link a concrete level to a more abstract level. During this time they can use manipulatives to represent concepts while working independently or in groups to solve problems. They gain a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts, why they are important and are able to learn how to apply them to everyday situations through practice of these mathematical concepts in math tubs. Although there are specific Framework tasks for each of the topics included, these are standards that need to be ongoing and can be done through the use of Math Tubs.

Illustrative Task
The children distribute the tubs or containers that are used for math tubs to the assigned area. Then the students will gather his or her Math Contract or Checklist to aid them in the direction of which math tub to choose for the day. The will choose a math tub based on the geometric shape on the contract or checklist and proceed to completing his or her task. The teacher’s role at that time is to aid in help or discussions about the task being completed. This discussion with the students is an excellent way to examine his or her understanding of the standards.

GPS Addressed
MKN1. Students will connect numerals to the quantities they represent.
    a. Count a number of objects up to 30
    c. Write numerals through 20 to label sets.
    h. Identify coins by name and value
    i. Count out pennies to buy items less than 30 cents
    j. Make fair trades involving combinations of pennies and dimes
MKN2. Students will use representation to model addition.
    a. Use counting strategies to find out how many items are in two sets when they are combined.
    b. Build number combinations up to 10.
MKM1. Students will group objects according to common properties such as longer/shorter, more/less, taller/shorter, and heavier/lighter.
    a. Compare and order objects on the basis of length.
    b. Compare and order objects on the basis of height.
    c. Compare and order objects on the basis of weight.
MKG3. Students will identify, create, extend, and transfer patterns from one representation to another using actions, objects, and geometric shapes.

  1. Extend a given pattern, and recognize similarities (such as color, shape, texture, or number) in different patterns.

Video Information
Use these questions to guide your thinking about some of the important teacher ideas in the lesson featured in the video clip.
  1. What kinds of questions does the teacher ask to promote students’ problem solving?
  2. How is the teacher gauging students’ current understandings and building from those understandings?
  3. Consider the GPS standards listed with this video.
  4. What makes this lesson different from lessons you have taught on this topic?

Classroom Materials

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