The children have daily opportunities to develop their mathematical understanding through hands-on, practical engagements. Throughout the year, the children will conduct personal and group inquiries into data handling; measurement; shape and space; pattern and function; numeracy.

Learning Math in Kindergarten on PhotoPeach


Last night someone came into the KC classroom and left some patterns on our carpet. This person also left a message on our white board, calling him or herself the “Pattern Ninja”.

This resulted in great discussions amongst the children as to the identity of the mysterious stranger:

* How had they gotten in to our classroom?
* Why had they left patterns?
* Who was this person?
* Would he or she come back?
* Was he or she a good ninja or a bad ninja?

The children decided that a bad ninja was unlikely to go around leaving patterns in kindergarten classrooms, so the Pattern Ninja was probably a good ninja.

The children came up with a list of suspects that they thought might be the Pattern Ninja. They wrote letters to these suspects, asking them whether or not they are the Pattern Ninja. So far we have managed to eliminate Ms Kumamoto from our list of suspects.

The children have made some patterns for the Pattern Ninja, in case he or she returns tonight.

Together, we wrote a letter for the pattern Ninja. The children were unsure about where to leave the letter so that the Pattern Ninja would get it. In the end, they decided to leave it stuck to the white board.

Some children thought they saw “a shadowy figure” passing by the window just before recess time. We tried to imagine what the Pattern Ninja might look like.

The pattern ninja came again last night. He left some more patterns and he wrote us another letter. Some of the children recognized his writing immediately because he wrote “HA HA HA!!!”

When the ‘suspects’ wrote back, we noticed similarities and differences between the letters. Mr. Jones wrote his letter on a computer. Mr. MacDonald wrote a card like a birthday card. Ms. Czubak wrote a long letter on paper. All the letters started with ‘Dear’.


We are exploring shape. I wanted to find out what the children already knew about shape so I asked them what they thought shapes were.

We adults selected several different materials that we thought would help the children develop their understanding of shape and space, and gave the children several sessions to explore the materials without any adult guidance. The adults observed as the children explored the materials.


Saku: Lines up same sized rectangles to make walls. Gets more rectangles to lay over walls for a roof. “Look, this is fire and this one is come to get here. And this is make roof”

Anish: “Look, mountain. These my people. Miss Tasha, look, my people.

Carl: Gets all the same size squares and lays them together t make a rectangular base. Selects triangles of different sizes and stands them up on the base. Tells a story as he works. “This is boat, this is boat. Look, this is aeroplane. Do,do,do …(sings). Look Saku. Dee de dee (sings) Now it’s bouncing. Here is a bridge. On the bridge.”

Issey : I’m making this big one, it’s gona be so, so big that’s why I need all big pieces.” Issey quickly and easily sorts all the big shapes into his pile. Fits triangles and souares together to form a base and piles other shapes on the base. The pile is smalle at the base than the top, and eventually collapses.

Paige: I’m making a house like my house in America. That’s why I need the rectangles. They are for making the walls.

Jenny: Mine is a pyramid. I used only squares. Big and middle and small and tiny. All stacked!

Eileen: I get all squares, small squares, and I make big steps. And house. Square and triangle.

Aika: Spends a long time sorting small squares and small triangles, then carefully stands them up in a pattern around her desk. She shows her pattern to the other children at her table.

Lisa: I did a house with quadrilaterals. Different quadrilaterals like square and rectangle.


Once the children had had opportunities to engaged in personal and group open inquiries, the adults guided the inquiry to help the children build on what they already knew and construct deeper meaning. The children worked in twos and threes to sort the materials they had worked with into sets. Then they shared their results with the rest of the group, explaining their thinking.


Aika This one have 3 pointy bits. This with 4 and these with 3 (sides)
Carl These are long and little bit skinny. Not fat
Jenny These have short and long.
Issey Like a pattern; long, short, long, short
Eileen This is square. This not square.
Paige I did big ones and small ones and medium ones
Ainish Blue
Lisa These ones are triangles and these ones are squares and these ones are rectangles.
Saku Here are all big ones and here small.
Issey Look, I am making one big square with all these little squares. … but now there’s no more and I didn’t finish yet.
Carl This one, it can go (hands Issey a rectangle)
Jenny No, that’s a rectangle. Not a square.
Carl Looks at the shape. Counts the sides.
Carl But anyway it has four side.
Aika It’s a quadrilatagram (I have introduced the words parallelogram and quadrilateral in previous sessions)
Issey Yes, it’s good.


The children are learning that shapes have attributes that can be described and compared. I decided it was time to deepen the inquiry. I introduced them to the correct mathematical vocabulary to help them describe the shapes: side, vertex (corner), angle. I explained that angles could be big or small, and that there was an important angle called a right angle.

In a whole group session, we began by categorizing shapes according to the number of sides. I asked the children if they had any ideas about what we could call a shape with 5 sides.

We focused on the set of quadrilaterals. The children noticed that there were different kinds of quadrilaterals. They described the different quadrilaterals.

  • It has four sides.
  • It has four angles.
  • It has four corners.

We made a table to compare the number of sides and the number of angles.

We wondered where we could find shapes. We went on shape hunt around the school. The children took clip boards and pencils, and cameras so they could record the shapes they saw.

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