How to teach critical thinking skills in kindergarten: problem-solving and numeracy skills

Problem solving and numeracy work very well
as whole-class activities. This task is also ‘hands on’ which kindergarten
children love. Before class, get a collection of materials
which are different lengths. These may be ribbons or string, balloons or
wool. Anything that has length and that you can
stick to a piece of paper. You should try and have one piece of material
for each student. So, if you have 12 students, you will need
12 pieces of material. You will also need a tape measure or similar
measuring tool. Seat the children in a circle around your
materials. If you have a large class, you can divide
the class into two groups at a table, each with their own set of materials. Encourage the children to pick up the materials
and feel them and talk about them. Ask questions like “What colour is it?” “What does it feel like?” “Do you like it?” “Why?“ Then, you can move on to questions about length. Ask the children, “Which one do you think
is the longest?” and “Which one do you think is the shortest?” Show the children the tape measure. Ask the children to show you where number
1 is and they can all point to it. Then number 5, number 15, and so on. Tell the class that every number on this tape
measure is called a centimeter or inch, depending on your focus. Get them to chant with you, “One centimeter,
two centimeters, three centimeters…” until they are comfortable with the term. Place all of the materials next to you and
hand out one to your first student. The child places it on the table in the middle
of the circle and uses the measuring tape to measure it. Help them to hold the tape. Ask the child to look for the number next
to the end of the fabric. Ask them to say that number. They might say “14”, or “1 and 4”
or “1–4 centimeters” … these are all great answers! Stick the fabric to a large piece of paper
with sticky tape and ask the child to write the number of measure at the bottom of the
material. Continue with the rest of the children. At the end of the lesson you will have a beautiful
poster of fabric and numbers written underneath. This is a really colorful way to develop your
children’s numeracy skills and will be a memorable task.

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