Monday, January 4, 2010

Place Value Math Game and More Christmas Cookies

This week I played one of my all-time favorite math games with youngest dd. It teaches/reinforces place value and best of all: it teaches and reinforces regrouping/exchanging. It prepares them for dynamic addition and helps the transition seem seamless. It's called Race for a Flat. I use Base Ten Blocks but you could use Golden Beads as well. I use a quickly sketched place value chart for each player but you could use a fancy laminated one :). Other than that you just need one die (or one per player). It works best with 2-3 players. In the classroom if the groups had 4 or more children it took longer and seemed tedious for them to wait for their turn. Since I emphasize them taking their time, counting, and watching each other during their turn as well it gets too long for some with 4+ players. On the other hand, we could play it in our family of 5 a little faster after youngest dd has played it slowly a few times. I've used it with first graders through 4th graders - so far all have enjoyed it.

Race for a Flat
- Base Ten Blocks
- Place value chart (one per player)
- Die

1) Roll die. Put that amount of ones (units) in the ones place. You only add ones each time you roll. Go to next player (one roll per player).
2) If, after you put the ones, you have 10 or more units in the ones place then exchange it for a ten and put the ten in the tens place.

3) The first player to exchange their tens for a hundred (a flat) wins.

More Christmas Cookies:

Here are some pictures of youngest dd's Christmas cookies. She was actually pretending that different dolls (which have different personalities) decorated different cookies so keep that in mind when you see the one-eyed gingerbread boy and such .

I experimented with *trying* to make some colored icing using things I had in the kitchen. Dd got a kick out of it and was very encouraging. Elderberry actually made a nice purple color. We used beets and blueberries as well. When I used beet water it turned sort of brown and didn't emulsify very well (left one in first picture). When I just smooshed softened beets straight into the icing (and scooped them back out) it turned a very pretty dark pink and didn't loose any texture (right in first picture).

What's Cookin'?
- I need to make a new batch of the bread in 5 minutes a day so it will be ready for our Monkey Bread on Wednesday (Dia de los Reyes).
- I need to cook a spaghetti squash. I can't decide between pesto or sketty sauce for this.

- My mom gave me a couple of Weight Watchers cook books for Christmas. I made the chicken and dumplings recipe the other day and it was so delicious. The upside down veggie pizza last night, on the other hand, barely made the grade. Next time I will NOT cook it on the lowest rack as they said and I won't use the yogurt dough for that particular recipe.


  1. Thanks for the game--race for the flat! We've modified it a bit and will play it tomorrow. See our post at We were sure to give you credit for the great idea! Cheers!

  2. Mo,

    How did it go? Thanks so much for the link back! I've really enjoyed looking through your blog.

  3. Still loving it! As a matter of fact, I'm taking lessons so I can learn how to use my sewing machine and my first official project is a little nicer "game board," than the one I had made out of posterboard. My little guy is loving it and since he is working on his multiplication tables with Memorize in Minutes he is started to related larger number multiplication into his simple math facts and I believe it is as a result of this game. Thanks again!