Skip-counting is a skill that is often thought of as an activity for students in lower grades. It shows up in the CCSSM in a couple of places:
K.CC.1–Count to 100 by ones and by tens
2.NBT.2–Count within 1000; skip-count by 5s, 10s, and 100s
And that’s basically it. As far as I can tell, there’s not even a standard for skip-counting by 2s anymore. Pity, really, because skip counting is such a powerful way to see the patterns and connections in math. I was thinking today about all the different ways you could skip count, and how doing so could really build conceptual understanding. Take, for instance, fractions. Skip-counting is perfect for a little game called Sparkle. Check out this blog post for more information. So look at this fractions version of Sparkle. You can play with two different sets of rules–using improper fractions or mixed numbers. Either way, the student who says a whole number, or a fraction that represents a whole number, sits down. You can have a stopping point, if you’d like. For example, when you reach 3 or 5, you start over. That tends to make the game go faster and reinforces the fractions students are repeating over and over.
Now think about doing this same activity the next day skip-counting by eighths. A lot more students will count between those who sit down. What a great discussion! And then how about by decimals?
I thought of some other ways to use skip-counting to reinforce patterns and make connections:
- Skip count by even numbers (2, 4, 6, 8, 10, etc.); try starting at numbers other than 2
- Skip count by odd numbers (1, 3, 5, 7, 9, etc.); again, start at numbers other than 1
- Skip count by whole hours (8:00, 9:00, 10:00, etc.)
- Skip count by half hours (8:00. 8:30, 9:00, etc.) or quarter hours (8:00, 8:15, 8:30, etc.)
- Skip count by quarters (25s) (25, 50, 75, etc.), sit down on dollars
- Skip count by quarts, sit down on gallons (1 qt, 2 qt, 3qt, 1 gal, etc.)
- Skip count by multiples of any number, sit down on the x12 fact (3, 6, 9, etc., sit down on 36)
- Skip count by multiples of 10 (30, 60, 90, etc.)