Week Fifty-Seven: STEAM Storytime: Numbers!

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May 4, 2016 by libraryheather


Program Title: STEAM Storytime: Numbers

Target Age Range: Ages 3-6 with a caregiver

Program Length: 60 minutes.

Brief Description: Half-storytime, half-lab in which we explore the numbers, pairs, counting, addition, and subtraction.

-6 pairs of children’s socks (different patterns/colors are best)

-Laundry basket

-Cardboard box “washing machine

Action Dice

-Printables for Pete the Cat Addition activity  (will require cardstock and regular paper)

-Blue playdough (a few containers)

-Black pipe cleaners cut into 3″ segments – 12 per participant


Optional (but helpful): Craft trays so that children and parents can work away from the tables.

-7 bowls

-Red flannel (3-4 sheets)

-Black or black sparkly flannel (1-2 sheets)

-Glue (tacky, elmer’s, etc–just for sticking flannel together)

-White construction paper (large) – 1 per participant

-Scotch tape

-Hinged clothespins – 2 per participant

-Dice (a few)

-Black sharpie


-Washable markers

-Red paper cut into circles for ‘pepperoni’ and quarters for ‘tomatoes’ – Several per participant

-Yellow paper cut into squares for ‘cheese’ – Several per participant

-Green paper cut into rectangles for ‘green peppers’ – Several per participant

-White paper cut into rectangles for ‘onions’ – Several per participant

Pizza Topping Printable, cut out – 1 per participant

Optional: Personal pizza boxes to carry home all the loose crafts

Optional: Glue sticks if they want to glue down toppings

-Instructional signs for each station

“Everyone Uses Math” – Brian Sargeant

“Double Play: Monkeying Around with Addition” – Betsy Franco

“One Hundred Hungry Ants” – Elinor J. Pinczes

Cost: $0-50

Advanced Preparation:
-If needed, prepare flannels for 6 Yellow BananasOne Little Cloud, and 5 Green and Speckled Frogs.

-Make a small cardboard box “washing machine.” Please see the picture of ours under Special Instructions and Procedures.

-Print and cut out any of the printables needed for the Pete the Cat Addition activity.

-Cut 3″ segments of black pipe cleaners. Make 12 per participant.

-Cut out ovals of red flannel for the Ladybug Craft. Make 1 oval per child.

-Cut out small black flannel circles for the Ladybug Craft. Make several per child.

-Make a model of the Ladybug Craft.

-Print and cut out the Pizza Topping Printable. Make 1 per participant.

-Cut out all paper ‘toppings’ you will use for the pizzas.

-Prepare the Racing Number Line Game for each participant. See Special Instructions and Procedures below for details.

-Make instructional signs for each station.

Program Outline:
1. Welcome, introductions.

2. Song: The More That We Learn Science

The more that we learn science,
learn science, learn science,
The more that we learn science,
the happier we’ll be.
We’ll know things and do things,
and explore many new things.
The more that we learn science,
the happier we’ll be.

3. Brainstorm: Why do you think math is important? What do we use math for?

4. Nonfiction Book: “Everyone Uses Math” – Brian Sargent

5. Flannel & Song: 5 Green and Speckled Frogs

Five green and speckled frogs,
sitting on a bumpy log,
eating some most delicious bugs (yum, yum!).
One jumped into the pool,
where it was nice and cool.
Now there are 4 green speckled frogs.

(Repeat until there are no green speckled frogs).stemmath4

6. Flannel: 6 Yellow Bananas from Hatch Early Learning

*Note: We kept the banana tree flannel up on the board and asked, “What’s in the sky up above the monkey and the trees? Clouds!” Then we just added the cloud flannel to the board.*

7. Flannel: One Little Cloud from Hatch Early Learning

8. Activity: Action Dice (see Special Instructions and Procedures for more information)

9. Fiction Book: “Double Play” – Betsy Franco

*Note: After the book, we clarified that ‘double’ means ‘two.’ Then we asked if anybody knew another word that means ‘double’ or ‘two.’ The word we were looking for was ‘pair,’ so that we had a natural transition to ‘a pair of socks,’ and how they usually match.

10. Activity: Matching Socks (see Special Instructions and Procedures for more information)

11. Fiction Book: “One Hundred Hungry Ants” – Elinor J. Pinczes

12. Lab Time: (see Special Instructions and Procedures for more information)
We had four stations for lab time:
-Pete the Cat Addition
-Ladybug Craft
-Racing Number Line Game
-Pizza Topping Counting Craft

Handouts: None

Special Instructions and Procedures:
Action Dice:
We have a pair of large, cushy “dice” with vinyl pockets on each side. One die has dots (like dice do) with a number, and the other has actions, such as spin, hop, jump, and clap. You can either purchase vinyl dice from a place like Discount School Supply, or you can make your own by pasting pictures over lightweight cardboard boxes. For this activity, we demonstrated how if you rolled a “5” and then a “clap,” we all had to clap 5 times. Then, we let every kid in the room have a turn. They loved this activity! Plus, we got to frame it as a reward for sitting and listening so well, but really it involved both physical activity AND counting. Mwahahahaha…

Matching Socks:
We used the amazing song from the same Hatch Early Learning blog post (that thing is a gold mine!), and one of our extremely crafty librarians whipped up a ‘washing machine’ stemmath11from cardboard and flannel like the one on Miss Mary Liberry’s blog post. Instead of flannel socks, we have various pairs of unused children’s socks from the dollar store that we use as part of our Hands-On Science Museum. So, we used 6 pairs of those in the washing machine to work with the number of children in the storytime. We sang the little song before each child got their turn to pull a sock out of the box. When two children had the same sock, they came up and put them in our dollar store laundry basket. It was awesome.

Pete the Cat Addition:
This activity came entirely from this great Kids Soup post. Cardstock was used for the base and regular paper for the equations and worksheets. We allotted 12 3″ pieces of pipe cleaners per child. For our purposes, I’m not sure that the accompanying equation sheet was necessary, but some families used it!

Ladybug Craft:stemmath8
This craft took some preparation on our end, but was pretty simple for families to assemble. Using We Made That’s Ladybug Math post as inspiration, we cut out enough black sparkly felt ladybug heads and small dots, as well as red oval felt ladybug bodies, for each child. The objective was simply to glue together the body and head, then take as many small black dots as they are years old and glue those onto the body. For example, if the child was 4, they would glue 4 small black dots onto the ladybug. Easy peasy!

Racing Number Line Game:
steammath1This game came from the blog Mom Inspired Life. To assemble, we took a large piece of construction paper, folded it in half length-wise, and cut down the center. Then, we taped the two halves together to make a long strip. We then used a ruler and a sharpie to make inch lines all the way down the paper–but we left the inches unnumbered, so that the kids could practice writing. Instead of reindeer, the kids decorated their two clothespins however they liked with markers and press-on gems. We had several dice available for kids to play the game within the program, but they were not given away to take home.

Pizza Topping Counting Craft
This requires some simple preparations–mostly cutting out stemmath9circles and squares in different colors to represent pizza toppings (we used a die-cut machine). We separated the toppings into bowls and labeled each one. Each child got a Pizzing Topping Printable, which introduces the concepts of 1/4 and 1/2. Our instructional sheet asked if they could put cheese on 1/2 the pizza, tomatoes on 1/4 of the pizza, etc. We had individual pizza boxes donated by a lovely local business, so that each participant could contain all the pizza toppings without gluing anything down. Barring that or a large plastic baggie, however, you might offer glue sticks for them to stick the toppings to the pizza before taking it home.

Resources Used:
Miss Mary Liberry: Flannel Friday: Sorting Socks Game

Hatch Early Learning: Guest Blog STEM in Storytime: Science Spot and Math Minute

Kids Soup: Pete the Cat Addition Activity

We Made That: Ladybug Math

Mom Inspired Life: Racing Reindeer Number Line Activity

This picture!

Additional Resources:
A to Z Teacher Stuff: Even and Odd Number Songs

Preschool Rainbow: Rhymes for Counting and Number Themes

Teaching Your Child: Number Songs and Rhymes

Michele’s Coaching Corner: Bug Count

Songs for Teaching: Alligator Greater Than / Less Than

Teachers Pay Teachers: Even & Odd Numbers Song

Hap Palmer: Count, Add, Subtract! (CD with lyrics and activity suggestions online)

Super Simple Learning: Ten in the Bed

What we would do differently:
Not much at all–this program went really well. We were nervous about the large difference in math abilities between 3 and 6 year olds, so we tried to throw in something for everybody. We actually had at least one 2 year old there, and she seemed totally fine. Whew! The Pete the Cat Addition activity could be simplified by removing the equation sheets and just making it a simple counting activity, but we did like the option of making the stations “mathier” for older kids. Only the older children gravitated toward the Racing Number Line Game, so perhaps it could be traded out for another activity–but the kids who did make their number line seemed to have a good time.

Adaption for older/younger audience: 
If you took the addition and subtraction out of this storytime and focused solely on counting and matching pairs, you could age this down a little bit more. For a 1st-3rd grade audience, please see our Mathscapades blog post. Though we are firm believers in math being more terrifying to present the older your audience gets, there are a few non-threatening math concept-related things you could do with an older audience: Geometry CastlesParabolic Art, Mobius Strips, Fibonacci Art, Hexaflexagons, or String Art, all of which would likely be enjoyed by 4th-6th graders and beyond.

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