Series: Book Ideas

All Sorts of Mitten Math

NEWS018-1 interactive math activities

Olivia Trevino’s preschool class at Marsh Elementary School took advantage of all the winter weather to explore picture books about mittens. The Mitten by Jim Aylesworth and The Mitten by Alvin Tresselt are two delightful versions of the Scandinavian folk tale about a group of animals that try to squeeze into a boy’s lost mitten.

One Mitten by Kristine O’Connell George, The Mitten Tree by Candace Christiansen, and Missing Mittens by Stuart J. Murphy play with the idea that mittens come in pairs in other ways.

All these mitten stories inspired a lot of mitten math! The activities began with the children doing a binary sort. They divided their handwear into two groups: mittens and gloves. They then compared the two sets of handwear by making a bar graph to see which set was larger.

The next day the children found the same collection could be sorted in many other ways. All they had to do was to change the attributes they used. Children sorted both mittens and gloves by size, then re-sorted them based on whether or not they had stripes.

The children also used their mittens and gloves to make repeating patterns on the rug. Later, the children used paper mittens to create patterns that they could glue down.

“Starting with interesting stories and using the mittens and gloves they wear every day really engaged the students,

Why is this important?

Data investigations are meaningful when they connect to children’s lives–in this case, their own mittens and gloves!

Key icon for Big Ideas

Big Idea

Data must be represented in order to be interpreted, and how data are gathered and organized depends on the question. More

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Big Idea

Sets can be compared using the attribute of numerosity, and ordered by more than, less than, and equal to. More

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Common Core Alignment

Counting and Cardinality More

Foundational Math Concepts

Source: Early Math at Work, Vol. 2, Issue 4 • Copyright: © Erikson Institute, February 2011 • Content ID: NEWS018

More in the Book Ideas series

NEWS001-1 best childrens books for winter

Finding Math in The First Day of Winter

As a little boy adds more and more trimmings to a snowman on each page, children can chant along and experience the growing pattern: “4 prickly pinecones, 3 striped scarves, 2 bright blue mittens, and a red cap with a gold snap.

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