Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Spring is on the way ! Growing number sunflowers

Spring is on the way ! Growing number sunflowers
Last year we introduced a very simple “sunflower song to our work with Y2 , which even when they got into Year 3 they still select as their class favourite when asked what do they want to sing and perform

The sunflower song
It’s really simple. In Year 1 and 2 we start to sing the sunflower song.All you need to do is put a sequence of numbers  to the familiar refrain of frère Jacques and explain to the class that the song is all about growing from a seed to a beautiful sunflower. 

I based it on sunflowers   because of the fields and fields of sunflowers I see when I visit Europe. 
We look at pictures of sunflowers and challenge the children once they know their numbers 0-10 to count as many as they can before they run out of target language numbers ….we often end up saying numbers beyond 10, but the number 10 is our class target!
Here are two of the pictures I use that I took on holiday .

One of my colleagues practised the Mandarin version  with her Year 3 children as an extension to their learning in French . They learned the song in French and then used the actions , the skills of listening for key sounds and the performance they already knew to create a performance song in Mandarin!

The Sunflower song and performance

The performance is simple .Children crouch down tight like seeds in the ground and grow slowly upwards until they reach 10 , when they should be stretched up tall with their hands and fingers spread out so that their hands are like sunflowers . One hand represents each sunflower on the number 10. In any language the song simply goes.....


Sunflower maths

In Year 3 this Spring half term we are busy revisiting language with our classes and will use this simple sunflower maths activity with all our year groups to keep on revisiting those all important numbers .

I introduced and used this activity last year with classes and then shared it at the start of the academic year with PGCE Primary MFL ITTs at Manchester University  . I know that quite a few of them have gone on to use this activity and have found it very effective, whether they were specialist or non-specialist primary linguists .

In Year 3  we revisit numbers  from KS1 or introduce  for the first time numbers 0-12 in the first couple of weeks in Autumn term .Now we can revisit them and use this activity to consolidate knowledge and extend knowledge . 

We can link it to our Science projects of growing seeds and read a story about the cycle of the sunflower and engage children in very simple number bond activities.

I like to use these two stories in French and in Spanish ,Diez semillas /
dix petites graines to reinforce the cycle of the sunflower and its seeds

The sunflower maths activity is simple and effective....

Stage one

Show twelve individual petals on a flip chart . Ask children to discuss with their partners  the number that they think the numbers and the simple mathematical sentence on the petal represents

Stage Two :

Show them the sunflower pictures of the flowers in the fields. Ask them to join in with the sunflower song from KS1 (see above)
Now ask them to help you to grow your class maths sunflower .

Stage Three

Show the empty sunflower with no petals on your flip chart .

Ask the children to find for you the petals and place them in the correct position on the sunflower . 
Find “one” first  and then find “six “ next as this allows he children to see the order like the clock face. 

Even if you are using higher numbers or odds/ evens etc  finding the first petal and then  the petal with the number which goes at the bottom of the sunflower seems to help the children to position the other petals .You should expect the children to place the petals on the flipchart without support – which means they have to think about the order of the numbers and number bonds etc.

You should end up with an almost complete sunflower- with just one petal missing! 

Now ask the children to write on their whiteboards the possible number sentences for the missing petal (in this case the number “ten”) . 
Once the children know the words for plus/ minus / equals they can share their idea with a partner . (With older children expect more complex number sentences and teach the words or phrases for multiply and divide )

Pair and group activities :

Children can then create their own games and with some core language “find” / “where is ..?” they can play the game with a partner or a table of classmates

Moving on with higher numbers and more advanced learners

With Year 4 and 5 we can use the Pocoyo video clips for longer more engaged listening although the younger children like these clips too!

"Pocoyo la graine "

Or in Spanish "Pocoyo la semilla "

 or I love the French story book about growing seeds: toujours rien?
Here is a You Tube clip of the story 

We can link the sunflower activity to higher numbers and more challenging use of the four functions in Maths in mathematical sentences! 

Children can write the mathematical sentences as words rather than figures to add challenge both for the child writing and for the child reading the message on the petal

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