I am honored to be working with a district of motivated teachers who love movement and math. Here is the ppt in the event you wish for the original, not the black and white hand outs. Peace and joy! Lynne
Math is hard...
make it that way.
Kids are told math is
oblige by memorizing
math facts and
Do the math...
...often withOUT understanding them.
Do the math...
We start as
young as age 4
• 50 % of children are kinesthetic
learners so why not begin with touch?
• Visual learners learn by watching. 40%
of learners are in this category.
• Only 10 percent of secondary
students learn best auditorily, but 80
percent of instructional delivery is
You don’t see with your eyes,
you perceive with your brain.
How Do We Perceive ~ The 3 Part Brain
• The Cortex
• The Limbic Brain
• The Cerebellum
• We sense
• We evaluate degree
• We feel, we think
• We make meaning
How does the brain learn?
Sit and get does not
What Needs To Change
1. We move to learn, we play to behave
(provide opportunity for creativity and
2. Multi-modal sensory learning strategies
3. Rhythmic daily movement
4. Make children the teachers/mentors
5. Instruct less, interact more
6. Help children think about number
• Only four to eight minutes of pure
factual lecture can be tolerated
before the brain seeks other stimuli,
either internal (e.g., daydreaming) or
external (Who is that walking down
the hall?). If the teacher is not
providing that novelty, the brain will
go elsewhere. Bruce Perry, PhD
STM to LTM
• The goal is to move knowledge from STM to
• Through a network of neurons, sensory
information is transmitted by synapses
between neurons. STM is like a receiving
center for the flood of sensory information we
encounter in our daily lives.
• Memory consolidation (LTM) requires
repetition for non-traumatic events.
1. Frequency and recency of neuron synapses increase memory
Increase frequency through practice and maintain fluency through use
2. Emotions strengthen memory
Appeal to and engage emotions while learning
3. Learning causes changes to the physical structure of the brain
Allowing children to teach increases their ability to learn throughout
4. Memories are stored in multiple parts of the brain
Engage all senses when learning
5. Our brains are programmed to focus on new and unusual inputs
Learning should tap into the brain’s natural curiosity and intrinsic
Sources: Donald J. Ford, Ph.D., C.P.T., Carl Haywood, PhD
Five Brain Secrets That Enhance Learning
How To Prevent Forgetting
• Most people forget newly learned concepts
after a day.
• Re-learning forgotten concepts is easier than
learning new ones. This is even true years
after something is forgotten.
• Over-learning typically occurs during motor
learning this repetitive form of learning
reinforces information and requires high levels
of brain organization.
Common Conceptual Errors
• 8 + 4 = o+ 5, What do you put in the box?
• = means the answer comes next, not “the
same” ~ Teach = >< tell about relationships
• Reliance on procedures, without gaining
understanding ~ Compare don’t just calculate;
Teach the concept not the RULE
• Thinking a number sentence is always
a +/- b = c
Play Math puts math in a
language kids intuitively
understand – the language of
But it’s NOT about making
math fun (though it is). It’s
about making math painless.
And when the learning is painless,
Play Math Moves Around The Defensive
Brain To Painlessly Teach Skills
• See it. Say it. Play it.
• Cerebellum to Cortex
• Gross to Fine Motor
We teach number relationships with fine and gross motor
movement leading to a conceptual understanding of fact families
and factors. This generates a natural scaffolding of math skills far
beyond symbol relations and memorization, It leads to meaningful
Did you know up to 50% of 7th graders do not have a good
understanding of their math facts? Why is that?
How do we Play Math?
WE SEE ~ We see the number relationships
with base ten blocks and marker boards. We
begin with pre-symbolic math looking at and
talking about the numbers represented by
base ten blacks. Many children experience
“AH-HA” when they can see what 9 + 4
actually looks like.
WE SAY ~ Math is a language based activity.
We say what we see, we ask questions and
we communicate about math as we play.
WE PLAY ~ We introduce the math concepts, we
wonder aloud and allow the child to see, say, play
and build math. It is important that we do not
instruct. Children get enough instruction in school.
We want to play and have fun with numbers and
WE TOUCH ~ We encourage the children to touch
the base ten blocks. They count the ones, move
the rods and talk about the numbers they are
WE MOVE ~ Each activity has a motor component,
some use fine motor manipulation and others use
gross motor movement. This way we engage the
whole brain not just the visual and auditory brain
WE CROSS ~ We incorporate large motor movement
in all directions using rhythm. We begin with simple
ball bouncing to establish rhythm. Then we move to
passing balls across the body, to the side and
overhead. Crossing the midline integrates brain
hemispheres and enables the brain to organize itself.
WE BUILD ~ As the children begin to build
numbers with the base ten blocks, we start to
teach them that multiplication is fast
counting. We teach them the “over” and “up”
numbers to introduce multiplication and
WE WRITE ~ As we progress we start to write
number equations, fact families and factors.
How To Play...
5 fun & easy steps
1. mirror count/skip count
2. “Let’s play math” (see it, touch it, move it)
3. slide and guide
4. over and up
5. what numbers “fit into” other
Step 1 ~ We always begin with mirror or
skip counting with large bouncing balls
(playground or beach balls). I know it
sounds so simple but skip counting is
magic. Skip counting multiple
operations. Imagine learning
multiplication prior to third grade, the
kids adore it. Better than that imagine
learning PEMDAS in 3rd grade, we do
Step 2 ~ When we “get stuck” on a
number we sit down with the base
ten blocks and “play math.” The
children are never wrong, they are
always right, they are just learning.
Step 3 ~ When we have “seen”
“touched” and done “slide and
glide” with the blocks, we then get
up and bounce, pass or throw the
gross motor balls again. “How did
you get there?”
Step 4 ~ We learn the “over and
up” number leading to fact families,
equations, factors, and division.
There is order in math that leads to
algebraic success. By session four
they are thriving in the creativity
and order of math.
Step 5 ~ Children become Play Math
Mentors teaching other children the
“secrets of fact families and factors.”
Kids who are disengaged as students
become engaged as teachers. “When do
I get my t-shirt?”
• The Train
• Bouncing small balls
• Hop, skip, jump
• Mother May I
• The Austin
• The Kyle
• The Ezra
• Four-square math
Test Results ~ Grades 2, 3, 4, 5
Small group format
12 40 min sessions =
Double the math scores (minute math
What works? The motor-cognitive
components of Play Math. When we
alternated gross motor movement (tossing,
throwing, passing, bouncing balls) with fine
motor movement (touching, counting, sliding,
building base ten blocks) the children’s brains
took in the knowledge in a multi-sensory
1. The children are allowed to run,
jump, hop, skip and play.
2. The children are taught “a method”
that will make them “math mentors.”
3. When a child creates a “game” that
works, we name it after him/her “The
Kyle” “The Ezra.”
Participation = Motivation
Cardinal is how
Ordinal is what
Fractions are parts of a whole.
We determine what that whole is (one can
be many things).
Before you can count things you must make
them the same.
“Base 10” is the language of place
• What’s a base anyway, what a weird word. It’s
what you get back to after 9.
• The base ten number system is a “place value”
• A base “is a language like French or English.” We
decide as a culture the language we will speak.
• Base 10 is a language of columns we use to
describe the place value of numbers.
• In base 10+, each column is worth 10 times the
amount of the column in the place to the right of
Thinking Mathematically: Integrating Arithmetic and Algebra in Elementary School
Thomas P. CarpenterMegan Loef FrankeLinda Levi
Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics: Teachers'
Understanding of Fundamental Mathematics in China and the United States
• A warm thank you to Dr. Martin
Fletcher and Cheryl McCarthy for
their help in the development of
this slide show and program.