For the Family Math Nights that we attended, Claire and I created our own counting BINGO game. We visited two schools where we set up our game and allowed children to visit each of our different tables to learn about and play the games we had to offer. Our game seemed well-liked by many parents and students. They got to show off their counting abilities and mathematic skills such as addition, subtraction, and multiplication. We managed to bring out this math by asking them questions throughout about how they are counting quickly and what it means to add or multiply groups of shapes together. Here is the idea of our game:
Materials Needed: white paper (to make the BINGO sheets), crayons or markers (we used the colors of the rainbow to add a pop of color to the boards and star chips), a ruler (to make straight lines on the cards and chips), sharpie (to darken numbers and words), scissors (to cut out the chips and boards), and two to four young students willing to participate in the activity.
STAR BINGO: There will be various 4x4 BINGO sheets with possible numbers up to 25 listed in the 16 spaces. The space marked with a star is a free space. While playing, there will be cards lying face-down across the table. The students will take turns selecting two cards at a time. These two cards have a different number of shapes on it and students will individually count how many shapes are on each card they select. After deciding on the amount, they will share it with the group, and anyone can place a star bingo chip on their corresponding space. The cards will all have different shapes and values and the students will have to use math solve or count what each value is and find it on his or her sheet (if it is applicable). For example, on some cards the students will have to solve for the correct amount by using addition and subtraction. Other cards will be straightforward, and the children will have to count how many shapes they see on them. It is possible to use multiplication to solve for some values when shown groupings of shapes. Students must also keep in mind that they may not always have the card value selected on their bingo board The objective of the game is to visualize what values they need on their own board compared to their opponents and think strategically to count and pick their own lineup for a BINGO.
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While we were attending the first Family Math Night, we were a bit overwhelmed with the setup of the tables and it was a bit too crowded. It was difficult to hear the students right in front of me because there were too many other children roaming about trying to join in the middle of different games just to get the sticker faster. I feel like the reason for this was partly because the school was also an early childhood education building, so there were more younger children there than expected. Anyways, our Star BINGO game went quite well with these younger kids because it only really required counting for them. There were a few students who could do multiplication of row x column and understood groupings of 5 shapes. There was one boy who loved the game because his mother told us how much he loves counting. Not only did he quickly get a BINGO, but he also spent time going through and counting extra, unused cards for the fun of it. When we asked him how he managed to count so quickly, he explained that his brain grouped up shapes near each other and he knew things such as: “5x3 is 15 and then there are 3 left so that’s 18”. He used his fingers to count occasionally and had a good understanding of the objective of the game. Out of all the students who played our game here, I feel that he had the best comprehension and reaction.
At the second event, we liked the setup of everyone’s tables going down the hallway more than the first location. It allowed easy access for students and families to walk down the line and see all the games there were to offer. During this visit, I met a pair of siblings who played our game together with parental supervision. They did not exactly follow the rules of the game, but they were at least taking turns, and both showed their counting skills. The eldest sibling kept trying to help his little brother count the shapes on the cards when he did not even get the chance to start counting yet. The eldest seemed to really enjoy counting and tried to see how quickly he could do it. The youngest was just trying to process the numbers and correctly count the cards at his own pace. The father that accompanied them tried to assist the young boy in pointing to the shapes while he verbally numbered them off. He also tried to question the other son about how he looked at cards so quickly and new without counting one by on. The son replied that he just new his multiplication that 4x4 is 16 so it was easy for him to do. When it came to cards where the shapes were scattered, he often grouped them up by 2s, 3s, or 4s my pointing and covering them with his fingers to count them quickly. This boy was more concerned in seeing how many numbers he can count than trying to get a BINGO first. In fact, he helped his brother win the game because he took enough pride in being able to count accurately.
Overall, I believe that our game was suitable for all elementary school students. The cards were designed so that students can use any form of mathematics: addition, subtraction, multiplication, or even just normal counting. The game also had a competitive aspect to add intensity, excitement, and got them to think strategically. We witnessed students counting the shapes one by one, using addition or multiplication when faced with groupings of shapes, and using subtraction when they counted all shapes and eliminated the ones that were crossed off in the end. After doing these activities for a couple of nights, we recognized varying ways students can perceive a problem and what their different solutions or methods may be. It was interesting to hear them explain their thinking processes sometimes because they would count in ways which I may find more complicated or unnecessary. Nevertheless, it was enjoyable to be a part of and to be able to leave a positive lookout on using math outside of the classroom.