Preschool: Pre K – Math Workshop

Monmouth County Private School : Pre K Math Workshop

Pre K Math Workshop

Math is fun

The Pre K Math Workshop supports the emerging skills of our children as they build their understanding of mathematical problem-solving. Math is offered in a hands-on approach that encourages exploration, questioning, and sharing. Topics include patterns, shapes, and geometry, counting and comparing, measuring, data collection, sorting and classifying, number sense, and, for some, beginning addition and subtraction.


The students will:

  • Work independently and collaboratively to identify and develop mathematical concepts.
  • Develop number recognition and awareness.
  • Develop the basic tools needed for beginning math skills.
  • Make connections between mathematics and the world around them.
  • Use hands-on activities to solidify concepts.


Fall Semester
With both individual and group instruction, students have learned number recognition. This is supported through hands-on manipulatives that are available in the classroom. Students documented the many different shapes found throughout the classroom and the school. The class documented their findings through many outlets, such as drawing, building, and physical movement, allowing the teacher to begin to identify what methods work best for each student. Teachers provided age-appropriate books to help the students think deeper about different shapes and where they can be found throughout their lives. Students participated in a shape collage. Students were taken into the art room where they had to find collage materials that fit onto the square paper, triangle paper, and circle paper. The students found a variety of buttons in the shape of circles and square. Small pieces of square paper were placed located, as well as some triangle pieces. Students found circle bottle tops that they placed on the paper and leaves that seem to be in triangles. This activity made the shapes tangible to students and had them looking at everyday objects as shapes rather than just objects.

prek math voyagers community school

Square peg, round hole

Another shape activity that the students participated in and loved was a shape hunt. Before the class started, the teacher placed circle objects, triangle objects, and square objects around the room. When the students arrived to class, they were told that they were pirates and had to find the shape treasure and put it in the correct treasure chests. The students would then locate the shaped objects and place them in the basket that corresponded to that shape. The thrill of going on the shape hunt engaged the students and made each student become involved.

Students in West 1 enjoyed working with popsicle sticks to create different sized shapes. The popsicle sticks were colored and labeled for each shape that they can create. For example, there were 8 green popsicle sticks that the students used to create an octagon. This activity was one that was available to students during our in-class work time.

The train set in the classroom also involves shapes. The students learned that in order to create a complete train track that they had to use the correct pieces in order to make it work. The students discovered that certain train tracks can fit together and others cannot because of the shape of the pieces.

The students also have the chance to work with shapes every single day. The block area in the classroom is organized by shape. When the students are building structures, they choose blocks based on which shape will work best with their design. The pattern blocks are also constantly available for students to explore with. They can use these manipulatives to create bigger shapes out of the smaller ones or use the small shapes to create pictures.

In PreK, we started to work on patterns. The students were given the question, “What is a pattern?” and they worked together to come up with a basic definition and examples of patterns. With their knowledge and interest in patterns, they started to notice patterns in everyday life. Following the student interest in recognizing patterns, we moved on to activities where we could create patterns of our own. The first activities that the students participate in involved egg cartons and shape blocks. The students were given pictures of patterns that the teacher had made and their job as to recreate those patterns in the egg carton. The students enjoyed the challenge of mastering the already completed patterns. This activity also helped the students with fine motor function by having them place the pattern blocks into the individual spaces in the egg carton. Even though the pictures of patterns were available to students, the students also opted to challenge each other with patterns of their own creation.

Another way that patterns were created was by making individual paper chains. The students were responsible for picking out 2 or 3 colors of paper that were then cut into long strips. The students were handed the strips and had to lay out their pattern and have it checked by the teacher. Once the pattern was approved by the teacher, they worked together to connect the strips into a long paper chain. These chains were then displayed in the classroom for the students to look at throughout their time at school.

Collage materials were also a big help in creating patterns. Different colored felt was cut into tiny squares and placed out as well as plain white paper. Students were given the chance to show what they know about patterns by taking the tiny squares and gluing them onto the white paper in the form of a pattern. The students liked creating patterns using art.

They really enjoyed picking the colors for their patterns, placing them in their own creative order, and explaining their patterns to others. Through the explanation to their teacher and peers, students are developing social skills and learning more about their work than through individual work. This pattern work is helping students develop basic math skills; such as counting, shapes, and color. Creating their own patterns allows them to express themselves through the various materials provided to them.

Students in West 1 participated in a number of activities that allowed them to sort different materials by shape, color, and size. The first activity that the students engaged in was a simple sort in order to see if they understood the concept. There are multi-colored magnetic blocks in the classroom that were brought to the carpet during a morning meeting. The teacher read a challenge that was issued to them regarding the blocks. They were challenged to sort the blocks into piles based on their shape. The students worked together to do this. The next challenge was to sort the blocks into piles of the same shape. The students also succeeded in doing this as well. The last part was tricky for students. They were asked to sort the blocks by size. Even though this was the most difficult of the challenges, the students pushed through and were able to complete the task.

The unit cubes were also a big help with sorting. The unit cubes were placed in the middle of the table and a simple instruction of “can you all sort this pile?” was given. The students ended up talking about how they could sort the pile, and came to a conclusion that sorting them by color would be the most logical. The students took their time linking blocks of the same color together, both independently and collectively. The students liked not being told how to sort the materials and work as a group to come to a conclusion.

The students are asked to sort materials in the classroom every day. Some of the materials are organized by either shape or color and the students know that they need to be put back in that way when they are done with them. The students know that the crayons need to be sorted by color, the blocks need to be sorted by shape, and the plates in the dramatic play area need to be organized by size. Having the initial lesson about sorting has really helped the students sort everyday materials to keep the classroom clean and organized.

Recently, the class that usually prepares the snack for the school was unable to prepare the snack.  The PreK students volunteered to take over preparing the snack. Through the preparation of the snack, students were exposed to numbers and counting. They have been counting the number of students and teachers in each class, putting the proper portions into each snack cup, and making sure there is enough fruit cut for the entire school. These everyday math activities bring math to life and give meaning to the children’s work. This job provides a good segway into the next topic, number sense.

Winter Semester
Most recently the students have worked on improving their number skills by recognizing numerals and identifying each one’s corresponding quantity. Students began their number exploration by working with a simple sheet of paper that provided the numerals 1-10  with space for them to trace the number, write them independently, and create corresponding numbers of dots. The students seemed to enjoy the variety of ways they could show their knowledge on paper.

prek math workshop voyagers community school

1, 2, 3…

Students also participate in an individual activity where they place magnetic numbers in the correct numerical order. After the numbers were placed, the students were instructed to group unit cubes to show the value of each number. Most of the students were able to recognize each number but were not yet able to regroup to represent values  In order to understand the concept of conservation children must have a great variety of interactions with their environment and so the children explore and manipulate, compare, arrange and rearrange real objects and sets of objects.

West 1 students are in charge of hosting a Quiet Lunch for the entire school community. The first step taken to organizing the Quiet Lunch was creating a survey. The children asked community members if they wanted a quiet lunch and for how many days. They sorted the responses they received by yes and no.   Next,  they sorted the yeses to represent the number of days each student indicated. After all the surveys were collected and sorted, the students and the teacher created a graph to visually represent the results. Each student was responsible for placing 1 piece of paper for each student above the appropriate number of days requested.  This provided a wonderful opportunity to practice the concept of conservation. Once all the students were represented on the graph, they counted the responses for each day and wrote a number above the corresponding column. This early exposure to graphs is valuable to the students as they begin to think more deeply about visual representation and to understand that a graph is a tool to represent survey results. This activity incorporated many of the mathematical concepts that the students have learned. What a wonderful way to reinforce the work previously introduced.

Shouting Sharon is a book about counting real objects or people with a funny storyline behind it. The book was read to the students during morning Meeting, which was followed by a counting around the classroom activity. The students moved about the classroom, counting out the appropriate number of materials. Each student was asked to get a different numbered object from the classroom. For example, one student was responsible for getting up from the carpet to obtain 1 object, a paint brush. The next was instructed to bring back 2 of an object, blocks arrived. This activity went on through until 10. This corresponded to the numbers that appeared in Shouting Sharon.

The book was left out throughout the week and was read multiple times by both the teacher and the students. Their interest in the book and in counting around the classroom has led to the composition of a similar book. An example of a sentence in our numbers book is, “10 books reading out loud and Sharon shouted “THE END!” The students also worked on the illustrations for the book. It will soon be bound and placed in the classroom library for everyone to read.

To continue the children’s learning of numbers and their values, they were offered the opportunity to participate in the Number Monster game. This involves rolling dice roll and reading the number that is face up.  Then the student placed the reciprocal number of body parts onto the monster. They love rolling the dice and counting the dots which is an excellent opportunity to practice their one to one correspondence. Once each child placed the body parts he or she wrote the reciprocal number underneath the monster. This provides an opportunity to practice writing numbers, and to see an amount in a different.

Recently, in West 1, students have become curious about the height of each person in the class. Together the students tried to make block structures to represent their height and the height of the teacher. While doing this they made observations such as, who is the tallest and the shortest. They even compared their heights.  Comparison of height provides the students with the opportunity to engage in mathematical dialogue using language such as shortest, tallest, etc.  To document everyone’s heights in a semi-permanent fashion and to create visual contrast, the students relied on a roll of streamers. They each personalized their piece of streamer with art materials. then they drew pictures of themselves which were then added to the display. The students continue to compare and contrast their heights as they revisit the display in the classroom.

TEACHER: Emma Nuneviller