Monday, June 11, 2012

Tally Sticks...Err, Bones?

Welcome to Week 2 of MommyMaestra's Math Mondays Marathon!

Last week we learned by reading The Secret Life of Math that some of the earliest peoples used tally sticks to keep records. Both sticks and bones were used as tools for counting and keeping track.

I started off our math learning by giving my kids a sheet of paper and some marbles/canicas and stones/piedras. I showed my kindergartner 1st grader how to make tally marks as he counted his stones, and had my 2nd 3rd grader tally the marbles. Making tally marks is a really great way to introduce counting by 5's, which will make multiplying and telling time easier.

To reinforce the concept of tallying, the book offers a craft where kids can create their own tally sticks using real chicken bones that have been cleaned and saved.

Since I didn't really have any real bones for them to use (I kept throwing out the chicken (drumstick) bones by mistake- Oops!), I decided to let my kids make their own using some air-dry clay I picked up at Target. I showed them the picture in the book, then let them have at it! (PS - remember to put down an old tablecloth or the clay may get stuck in places on your table top.)

This is what we ended up with...

Finally, after the bones had dried overnight, I had my kids notch their bones with a plastic knife. They put notches for each group of five stones, another bone with notches for each month so far this year, and another with the number of days we've completed this week.

Have a little fun this week making your own tally sticks bones!

Con mucho cariño...


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