Math is Part of Life! Beginning-of-the-Year Kindergarten Activity

By Elizabeth Wistrom

Use this lesson to help Kindergarten students understand why math is an important part of their lives. Number activities will get your students to start thinking about the numbers around them on a daily basis.

Start the Year Off Right!

Most Kindergarten students have a very limited understanding of the word "math" or "mathematics" and how it relates to their own life. Help them understand why math is important by showing them that numbers and math surround us with these number activities to include with your Kindergarten math lessons!

Together, brainstorm an extensive list of where numbers can be found. For example, your list might include words like calendar, number line, ruler, grocery store, telephone, price tag, sports jersey or scores.

Next, give each student (or pairs of students) a pencil and paper. Ask them to go on a numbers hunt around the classroom or even around the school. Students should record the number they find and how it is being used. Any non-writers can use pictures to illustrate what they have found. Their data might look something like this:

• 7 - a page number
• 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11 & 12 - the numbers on a the clock
• 117 - the room number for music class

Come back together as a class and allow time for students to share the numbers they have discovered around the classroom.

Then, spend some time discussing various situations when it is necessary to use math skills like counting, adding and subtracting. As part of your Kindergarten math lessons, you might also discuss times when understanding how to use math and number sense has been beneficial...like when they are trying to share cookies with a friend, count the number of pennies in their piggy bank, or keep track of the score in a playground game.

When you are finished brainstorming the list, spend some time reading Math Curse, by John Scieszka. In this humorous book, the narrator is afflicted with a "math curse," and suddenly recognizes how every situation can be thought of as a math problem.

Your students will have everyday situations where math is important, and by incorporating this awareness into your number activities for Kindergarten math lessons, your students are certain to see math in a different light.