Sunday, October 27, 2013

Flies Make Fabulous Math Manipulatives!

Reposting to enjoy during the Halloween season... Plastic flies are readily available at this time of year!

Since our study this week included insects, I thought it might be fun to do a little math "on the fly." Turns out that plastic flies are the perfect math manipulative. They're quiet. (No buzz. Honest.) Cheap. (Bought mine at the dollar store.) Fit great in a kid's hand. Are big enough to find if they "fly" to the floor. (Although we didn't really have trouble with flying flies...) And the math exploration possibilities are endless. (I saw the idea for counting flies here, but I extended it.) Flies would make great manipulatives for probability or fraction work with older kids. But this week was at the kindergarten level.

1. Practice writing numbers:
I made a sheet with the numbers I wanted my kids to practice. I gave each child 5 flies to spill out of the hand and onto the desktop.  Children then traced the number of "dead flies" (ones that landed on their backs) in one color and number of "live flies" (upright) in another color.

2. Practice addition bonds:
I set a target number and gave the child that number of flies to spill onto a desktop. We started with 5 flies. I made a worksheet to record a fly addition sentence: Dead Flies + Live Flies = How Many Flies Altogether? I put the paper in a page protector so we could change the target number. The picture matches the type of flies I found, but I think you could use it with any plastic fly. As long as kids record the upright flies in one column and the upside down flies in the other column, they're good to go. I mean fly!

On the first day, one little guy looked at the column of sums and remarked, "It always equals FIVE!"

Click on the picture for a free Google Doc download. Since I can't see how many people download, you'd make my day if you'd leave a comment saying you grabbed a copy! :)

This little activity would make a great Math Station or Work Box.

Related Kindergarten Standards:

K.CC.3. Write numbers from 0 to 20. Represent a number of objects with a written numeral 0-20 (with 0 representing a count of no objects).
K.CC.4. Understand the relationship between numbers and quantities; connect counting to cardinality.
K.CC.5. Count to answer “how many?” questions about as many as 20 things arranged in a line, a rectangular array, or a circle, or as many as 10 things in a scattered configuration; given a number from 1–20, count out that many objects.
K.OA.1. Represent addition and subtraction with objects, fingers, mental images, drawings1, sounds (e.g., claps), acting out situations, verbal explanations, expressions, or equations.
K.OA.2. Solve addition and subtraction word problems, and add and subtract within 10, e.g., by using objects or drawings to represent the problem.
K.OA.3. Decompose numbers less than or equal to 10 into pairs in more than one way, e.g., by using objects or drawings, and record each decomposition by a drawing or equation (e.g., 5 = 2 + 3 and 5 = 4 + 1).
K.OA.5. Fluently add and subtract within 5.


  1. I grabbed a copy :-) Great idea! Love your lessons...Evette

  2. I like the integration with hands-on manipulatives.
    And I love the sheet protector as an easy write on wipe off!


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