Using Seasonal Math Mats
Seasonal mats are a welcome addition to the classroom math center. Students love these seasonal mats and are eager to use them at center time. Teachers may use these in a number of ways to help students master math skills. Here are some examples of how students might use the turkey mat and feathers in the math center.
The student rolls a die or selects a card, and places that many feathers on one turkey. The student rolls the die again and places that many feathers on the other turkey. The student should then count the total feathers and either write or select a number card to express the total.
Write Number Sentences
The student follows the same procedure as above, except that he/she writes a number sentence to describe the results of the dice rolls. See the Leaf Mat or the Spider Web Mat for examples of prompted number sentence mats and recording sheets. Insert both in sheet protectors and provide dry erase markers for students to use.
Quick Counting Game:
Student pairs each follow the procedure for rolling the die, placing that many feathers on the first turkey, etc., writing a number sentence or selecting a number card. The student with the larger number wins the game. Or, use a More-Less Spinner to add more suspense to the win. After students finding their totals, they spin the More-Less Spinner to determine who wins the round, adding practice of another math skill to the quick game.
New Seasonal Mats:
- Turkey Mat and Feathers, as pictured above
- Pumpkin Mat where students place some counters on the big pumpkin and some counters on the smaller pumpkin. They may then write a number sentence to describe how they placed the counters and to express the total number of counters on both pumpkins.
- Crazy Spider Mat: students use small pipe cleaner legs to create crazy spiders. First die roll tells student how many legs to add to one side of the spider. The second die roll tells students how many legs to add to the other side of the spider. How many legs does his/her spider have in all? If it's not 4 on each side, then the student has created a Crazy Spider.
Other Seasonal Mats:
- Leaf Mat: students use small bugs (counters or beans) on each leaf, then write a number sentence to describe their mat. The big leaf and small leaf allow students to accurately describe the work on their mat.
- Spider Web Mat: the plastic spider rings or dollar store spiders may be used as manipulatives for this seasonal mat.
- B/W Ladybug Mat or Color Ladybug Mat works great with counters or colored foam circles. Or, insert the mat in a sheet protector and let students draw circles for the number stories.
Mathwire.com: Math Mats Resources
This series of pages is designed as a resource to teachers as they differentiate instruction for varied learners in the class. Each page discusses how to use the set of mats to develop mathematical understanding and support student growth.
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