What Comes Between?

Written by Donna Boucher

Donna has been a teacher, math instructional coach, interventionist, and curriculum coordinator. A frequent speaker at state and national conferences, she shares her love for math with a worldwide audience through her website, Math Coach’s Corner. Donna is also the co-author of Guided Math Workshop.

So here’s an item that popped up on our state assessment a couple of years ago:

OMGosh, what fits the kiddos had with this one statewide.  Here’s an easy little activity you can do to practice ordering numbers in a format like this.

Click here to grab the work mat shown below.  If you take standard 3 x 5 index cards and cut them in half, they fit perfectly in the mat.  Small sticky notes also work well.

Make cards or sticky notes with six different numbers fairly close in range.  I like to make them going over a hundred or thousand.  Put two of the numbers on the mat and place the other four below the mat.  In the example, I used two different sticky note colors.  If I were putting this in a workstation, I would probably use two different color index cards cut in half.  The task is to decide which number can go in place of the ?, and the strategy is to put the numbers in order, creating a number line.  You can easily adapt this activity for smaller or larger numbers.

16 Comments

    • Donna Boucher

      My pleasure!! I love that it’s quick and easy. 🙂

      Reply
  1. Victoria

    This exercise is a great idea for an intervention group of mine. Thanks for sharing:)

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      You’re welcome, Victoria!

      Reply
  2. xandy

    I love this…just yesterday I gave a practice STAAR test and saw that 3rd graders had a lot of trouble with this. I am also having a hard time getting them to use strategies (I do small group math intervention). I really appreciate yourwisdom!

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      Yes! This translates perfectly to what they should show on their paper, too. Glad it’s useful to you!

      Reply
  3. My Down-Time

    This activity can be scaled down so easily to numbers between 1 – 120 for our first graders and keep the higher thinking skills part of it. I’m sharing this one with my teacher friends!

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      Absolutely! Easily adapted for different grade levels.

      Reply
  4. Lisa Mattes

    LOVE this, Donna! A few of my firsties literally NEED to practice this skill this week. I was thinking along similar lines, but hadn’t thought of the boxes with several extra choices. LOVE!

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      Thanks so much for the sweet comment, Lisa! 🙂

      Reply
  5. Mrs. Yazzie's Classroom News

    I am so happy to have found this. We have similar questions in 2nd grade. I like that this is easily adaptable to any level. I will simply use numbers up to 100 first. Then, continue the practice on a higher scale up to 1,000. Thanks!!!

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      Sounds perfect!!

      Reply
  6. Debra Sims

    If this activity was a station or center how do you suggest self checking without cheating?

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      Great question, Debra! Obviously, if you’re using a workshop approach to teaching math, it’s super important to outline, model, and teach expectations. Developing a culture of learning is probably the single most important factor in successfully implementing math workshop, so we spend lots of time at the beginning of the year explaining the purpose of workstation activities. Once students understand that it’s not about being “right” but about learning and growing as mathematicians, the likelihood of cheating diminishes greatly. For this activity, I would have students record their work in their Math Journals for accountability. I can quickly check their journals to make sure they are on track.

      Reply
      • Caryn Trautz

        As I’m planning for my first year using Guided Math, I’m thinking of having students take pictures of this type of activity and post to either SeeSaw or Showbie (haven’t decided yet which app I’m going to use). Any thoughts?

        Reply
        • Donna Boucher

          I love that idea! I have heard great things about SeeSaw. In fact, one of my goals this year is to work with one or more of my teachers to try it out. I just think it’s the wave of the future.

          Reply

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