Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I Love The Hardware Store!

 Years ago, I needed to find a simple contraption that would turn into an addition machine.  I was a special education resource teacher and all my teaching supplies had to fit on a cart or a rolling suitcase.  I hit the hardware store.  Apparently, I chose a P trap with a cleanout spout. 
I had used these same p traps before, but I used them for whisper phones.  You can find the perfect size for kids and adults.  The beauty of these p traps is that you do not have to do any prep for them to work!

The "Addition Machine" p drain has a very easy to use drain at the bottom.  My three year old is able to open it.  I added an addition sign to the middle of the machine, so it gives a visual that you are adding both sides of the adding machine.
To make this work, you need 3 small containers and something to prop the "Addition Machine" up against.  I used a small stool from IKEA.  It is exactly the right size to fit my "Addition Machine".
 To prep the "Addition Machine", you need a dry erase marker and some small manipulatives.  I have used pom poms, marbles, and any small little things that I find around the house. 
First, you write two numbers, with your dry erase marker, on each of the top two containers.  On the bottom container, you will write an equal sign.
Students will count out the correct number of manipulative and put them in each of the top two containers.  We always counted out loud and examined the two sets of manipulatives before moving on to the next step.
After putting the manipulatives in the containers, I had a student pour each container into the "Addition Machine".  We stated the addition sentence, as we went through the process.  The addition sentence, in this case"2+4", is the magic password that gets our "Addition Machine" to work!
 The magic is starting to work!
After all of the manipulative are poured into the "Addition Machine", we say the magic sentence "2+4" again and this time open up the drain.  All the kids seem to hold their breath, as the manipulatives pour from the "Addition Machine".
Before we recite the entire addition sentence, "2+4=6", we pass around the lower container to see the magic that has happened.  Each set of manipulatives from the containers has mixed together to form the whole!!!  It never ceases to amaze!  This activity is great for a concrete way to examine Part-Part-Whole.
 After we all examine the manipulatives and count how many there are in all, a student will write the sum on the lower container.  Then, we are able to recite the whole addition sentence: 2+4-6. 
I've had kids want to do this activity over and over, not even realizing that they are practicing addition.  Such fun and it really helps those kids that need the hands on, concrete learning. 
Hope this can help you, as much as it has helped me!  Don't forget the p drains, without a cleanout spout can be used for ready made "whisper phones".  Buy and use.  My kind of materials :)
I also linked up with The Preschool and Kindergarten Community. Be sure to check there for tons of great ideas!

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  1. Deb, You always make me smile! Thanks for your supportive presence :) I am dangerous in Home Depot! There are just so many possibilities!!!

  2. You are a genius! What a great way to teach addition.
    Mrs. Brown Loves Bookworms

  3. I got so excited when I saw this on pinterest yesterday. I told my EA, we HAVE to make this! That looks like so much fun!

  4. I think you will love it! I feel like the kids really think there is a little bit of magic in there :) I love it and feel like I am really a kid at heart :)

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  6. This looks great! I love the hands on aspect of this. I hope you don't mind, I shared it on my Facebook page with a link back to your blog post here.
    I love finding new ideas to use in the classroom, will be following to see more :)

    BTW I love the bright colours on your blog design!

    Mrs Poultney's Ponderings

    1. I love that you shared it! Thanks so much :)
      I would love for you to share anything that you find helpful from my blog. That makes me so happy!!!

  7. This is such a brilliant idea! I shared with a kindergarten teacher at my school.

  8. This is such a clever idea! I know my students would be so excited to use this which probably means I need to visit Home Depot soon :-)

  9. thanks so much for this awesome idea. I have one student who is having a difficult time with addition , I think he will love this.

    1. I'm so glad! I hope that it works for him. I love teaching with it, because kids seem to become SO engaged from a little piece of hardware :) Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! It really makes my day brighter!

  10. What a great, hands-on way to teach addition! I love your simple, yet genius ideas!

    Teaching Momster

  11. This is genius. That is seriously one of the most creative ways to teach math! I love it! Who would have thought that the hardware store could be such a good source to so many fun and creative materials. Thanks for sharing!
    Tim | Hardware Store Goer


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