* Calculations with larger numbers
In this class of 4-5 year-olds (in a mixed nursery and reception class) , the teacher had been reading 'One is a snail, Ten is a crab' (Pulley Sayre & Sayre, 2004), to support the children's counting up to 100. She
suggested that the children choose their own number, and work out which combination of creature's legs would total their number.
Roxy decided on '67', explaining "it's a big
number, so I'll do crabs because they have the
most legs. Ten, twenty, thirty, forty. That's four
crabs." Drawing two more crabs she again counted
in tens. Explaining that she needed seven more
she drew three people, finally adding a snail,
writing her calculation in words at the foot of the page.
Trees explained that he was going to work
out 800, after a while explaining he had four
crabs and four snails: "That's not the eight
hundred! Need loads more so I think I'll do more crabs 'cos they've got the most legs." Adding addition crabs and snails he counted to 104. Pausing, he decided, "I don't think I'm going to
do any more because it's too big. I need six more so I can do six snails, or a dog and two snails, or three people -but I'm just going do a fly because it has six legs."
The teacher described the children's graphical responses as "a real eye-opener", their self-challenges and problem solving as "remarkable!"
Chang's class were going on a residential trip,
and their teacher had bought some nectarines.
She invited the children to work out how many packs (with three in each pack) she would need
to buy so that 26 children could have one each. Chang (7 years 1 month) responded by counting
in threes and noting that there would be one nectarine left over.
Harriet (7 years, 4 months) tackled the same problem, drawing 'packs' with three children in
each, and crossing out the surplus person in the
last pack, then writing '9' beneath. Earlier she
had drawn another pack but realising she did
not need it, had crossed it out. Self-checking
indicates reflection and efficient levels of thinking.