Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Part-Whole Math With a Plate!

At a conference last fall, I heard Kim Sutton mention something about using Zoo Pal Paper Plates to show parts and whole in math. She briefly described putting the parts in the ears and then showing the whole in the larger plate area. I'm not exactly sure how she uses the plates. But I wanted to experiment with the idea...

I couldn't find the zoo plates locally (Amazon link is below), but decided to try it with a plastic plate from a local one buck store. (My plate is sorta like this divided plastic picnic plate.) I've used this a couple different ways to explore the part-whole relationship in addition with my 5yo...

With Dice:
He tossed one die into each of the smaller compartments and put that many items (I used centimeter cubes) in each dish. He wrote down the two dice numbers in an addition number sentence. So if he rolled "2" and "3," he put 2 cubes in one small slot, 3 in the other small slot and wrote "2 + 3." He then moved all the cubes to the bigger area (the whole) to count the total and finish the number sentence (= 5.)

With Pre-Written Number Sentences & Penguin Pieces: 
I wrote several number sentences. (Photo above models 2+2.) If the sentence was 2 + 4, he counted out 2 marble penguins into the first small compartment and 4 marble penguins into the second small compartment. He then moved all the penguins into the larger compartment, counted the total and finished his number sentence.

This could easily be replicated at home or school. And could be used with subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, decimals and more. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: If you order from Amazon links on love2learn2day, all commissions go toward foster care through Grace and Hope at no additional cost to you. THANK YOU!  


  1. This is brilliant! We are teaching this right now in 2nd grade and my students have really struggled with it. This is such a great activity to make it hands-on :)

    Lisa :) (new follower)
    Made In The Shade In Second Grade

  2. Such a cool idea! Will definitely try this. Hope I can fit base ten blocks in to use for two digit addition and subtraction.

  3. I am thinking about how this would work with subtraction. The advantage is that you could use it to show the relationship between addition and subtraction. If you knew the whole (say 5) and one partial sum (say 2), you could put the 5 in the big part and then move 2 to one of the small parts. What was left would go in the other small part and would be the missing addend. I think I like it. : )

  4. I like it! This is an interesting way to teach part to whole. The above idea for subtraction from Tonya is smart too. Hmmmm, got the wheels spinning!


Thank you for leaving me a message. I love comments almost as much as I love chocolate! And I do LOVE chocolate. :)

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Blogging tips