Friday, August 9, 2013

Chutes and Ladders

I played a game of Chutes and Ladders today with my 5 year old, Jake.  Before we played the game, we were talking about numbers.  I asked Jake if he knew how to count by 10's.  He obliged by counting 10, 20, ... , 80, 90, 20, 21...

It was funny how he seemed to have these numbers memorized, but wasn't sure what to do after 90.  So I remembered this number grid we had at home...

I had Jake count by tens and mark them on the number grid.  He was pleased to see they all lined up and he grinned at remembering 100 came after 90.  Then I had him count by 5's and mark it on the grid.  Again, he noticed some patterns and overlap with the counting by 10's.  Then I let him pick any number in the top row and count by 10's from there, marking off the numbers as he went.  He caught on that he always made vertical columns on the grid when he counted by 10's.  I thought this was a nice start.

Then we played Chutes and Ladders...

The first thing that I noticed is that the organization of this grid of 100 was different.  Instead of the numbers looping to the next row, they wind their way back and forth on the page.  At first I was bummed and thought this new arrangement (as well as the busyness of the board) would just confuse Jake.  But what I noticed is that this game presented some very nice "what is bigger conversations".  For example, when one of went up a ladder or down a chute, we had nice discussion about which way will be going on the board now.  Jake landed on space 51 and climbed the ladder to space 67.  We had a nice conversation about which direction he should be facing in this new row.  He figured out that it amounted to which number was bigger, so he should point his token toward the 68.  It made for a nice greater than/less than conversation.

Thanks to Christopher Danielson for reminding me of this game, which we had tucked in the back of the game closet!

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