An Afternoon of Math Movements Yu Ying Charter School

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This past week, I had the pleasure of visiting Yu Ying Charter School in Washington D.C. to lead Math & Movement activities with a first-grade classroom and a fourth-grade classroom. I incorporated Math & Movement floor mats and Active Math Movements into each lesson.

First Graders: Math and Mandarin

In the first-grade group, I demonstrated how to add 10 to a number using the giant Hundred Number Grid. We stood on the starting number and used a bean bag to mark it. Then, the students hopped 10 times to find the solution! I also had the students choose a number and build the number with bundles of popsicle sticks that we were using as place value manipulatives. The kids had a lot of fun jumping on the mat, identifying numbers, adding 10, and building the numbers!

After I demonstrated these activities, their teacher repeated the lesson in Mandarin. It was amazing to observe the teacher asking the students questions in Mandarin and then to hear the students answer the questions in Mandarin! Emma, who speaks Mandarin and is a part of the Math & Movement Team, was with me and confirmed the students are quite proficient in Mandarin! Congratulations to Yu Ying Charter School and its teachers!

Fourth Graders: Math Movements for 6s

My next stop was a fourth-grade after-school classroom. Before we started any activities, we pre-tested the students to gauge their fluency with multiplication by 6s. Both the pre-test and the post-test had 30 multiplication by 6s problems. We also pre-tested verbally by having the students collectively skip count by 6s.

We began the program with warm-up math movements. The students had a lot of fun with ‘Soccer for 6s’. Students counted from 1 to 60 whispering the numbers that are not the multiples of 6 and shouting the multiples of 6. 

Here’s how to do ‘Soccer for 6s’

Kick your left leg across to the right. Whisper, “one.”

Kick your right leg across to the left. Whisper, “two.”

Cross your left knee to the right. Whisper, “three.”

Cross your right knee to the left. Whisper, “four.”

Head the ball. Whisper, “five.”

Jump, clap, and shout, “SIX!”

Continue with this pattern to 60.

Fourth Graders Skip Count by 6s

Next, the students lined up on the skip counting by 6s mat. Each student had the opportunity to jump on the mat chanting the 6s.

While students on the sidelines jumped and chanted 6s, each student had a turn jumping on the mat. After each student had had a turn on the mat, I had them turn away from the mat and skip count together by 6s.

Math Movements at Yu Ching

Then I asked what I believe is the most important question:  “Did you personally improve?”

It is imperative that students recognize that their own hard work makes a difference in their learning. When they put effort into practicing and learning, results happen. They improve their skills. The students answered that they had made growth in their skip counting! 

The students had made progress but still required some additional practice. In order to gauge the student’s interest in jumping on the skip counting by 6’s mat, I asked if anyone wanted to have a second turn jumping on the mat. Their hands shot up! Students took turns jumping on the mat again while they collectively skip counted by 6s. 

Periodically, I would gauge their improvement by asking them to turn away from the mat and collectively skip count by 6s without looking at the mat. Each time I would ask students if they recognized their own personal growth.  

Seeing Math Progress after Movement

After about 12 minutes, I noticed they were pretty solid with skip counting by 6s. Next, I demonstrated how to see the groups of 6s and how to solve multiplication by 6s problems. 

Students took turns solving multiplication problems by 6s using the Skip Counting by 6s mat. Once I was sure they understood the directions, I gave the students a page of multiplication problems by 6s and encouraged them to use the mat to get the answers. Students then worked independently, jumping on the mat to count the groups of 6s and documenting their work on their page. The result was a happy buzz of students jumping and writing down their answers. 

The entire program was approximately 40 minutes. The gains between the pre-testing and the post-testing were pretty incredible; many students doubled their scores.

Tools for Success

Observing the high level of student engagement was exciting. It is even better when student learning happens at a faster rate. When students recognize that their hard work can result in academic growth and are able to verbalize their success, we have given students tools for success. 

One student wanted to share his math experience with me.  He said, “I have had such a hard time with times.” He is not alone.

At the end of the program, this student stated with confidence, “Now I know how to do times.” The evidence proved how he was feeling –  there was a five-fold increase between this student’s pre-test and the post-test!

Student Pre-Test Post-Test

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