One of the joys of learning is that although there are many resources that you can buy from companies around the world educational resources are all around us and you don’t have to be in a classroom for learning to take place. Math Manipulatives are objects that can be used for hands-on learning of maths concepts, unit blocks, sorting bears etc spring to mind, but they can be expensive and it needn’t be using objects found in your home and in nature you can use them to create excellent resources that kids will find as useful if not more useful for learning. Today we’re sharing an idea for using sticks to work on ordering, sorting and estimation. To give you an idea that learning can take place anywhere this was on a recent camping trip early in the morning whilst we were trying to keep the kids occupied as to not wake up any tents that may still be asleep.

Math Manipulatives, take learning outside this summer and save money with this free resources for learning, sorting, ordering and estimation

Materials needed

Sticks and Branches

Sticks, ordering, sorting and estimation

Camping in the forest we started off heading off and collecting 10 sticks at random from around the camp site. It would be great to include a nature walk and bring along a bag with you to collect the sticks in as you go prior and then have the sticks at home or in the classroom for learning, crafts and art.

Math Manipulatives, take learning outside this summer and save money with this free resources for learning, sorting, ordering and estimation

With the sticks in a pile, I direct to “Find the smallest stick in the pile and lay it out at the side“. The kids sorted through the pile of sticks and found the smallest one. You could equally start with what you think is the biggest one – but from experience especially with natural objects that don’t grow uniformly straight it’s easy to identify the smallest rather than the biggest.

Math Manipulatives, take learning outside this summer and save money with this free resources for learning, sorting, ordering and estimation

Once this was set in place on the grass it was time to choose another one, in most cases this will be larger so we put it to the right-hand side of the smallest stick and then choose another stick – time for some estimation.

Math Manipulatives, take learning outside this summer and save money with this free resources for learning, sorting, ordering and estimation

Estimate or Guess whether that stick is smaller or bigger than the largest stick you have down so far“.

Math Manipulatives, take learning outside this summer and save money with this free resources for learning, sorting, ordering and estimation

This was put in the line and then each subsequent stick was estimated and then placed, often lots of movements and measuring against the other sticks took place to put the collected sticks in order.

Math Manipulatives, take learning outside this summer and save money with this free resources for learning, sorting, ordering and estimation

More Great Math Manipulatives

math manipulatives button

All this month bloggers from around the world are joining together to bring you inspiration for ideas based around Math Manipulatives – from our post on sticks to beads, sea shells, Lego, Erasers and many more. Find all of the ideas to inspire you and fabulous ideas over on School Time Snippets and save money with the ideas that won’t cost you the earth but will keep the kids learning using objects from around the home and in nature.

Math Manipulatives, take learning outside this summer and save money with this free resources for learning, sorting, ordering and estimation

Author
Cerys Parker

Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, high school teacher and mum. Realising that life doesn't have to be put on hold and you don't just have to survive whilst the kids are young she shares ideas to inspire you to LIVE with the kids, with activities to do together, recipes to cook and enjoy and family travel to make memories to last a lifetime.

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