Sunday, October 19, 2014

Part Part Whole Spider Web Math

This is a differentiated post for working with part-part whole.  One of the concepts children need to understand is that numbers can be decomposed into other sets of numbers.  So 5 can actually be decomposed (taken apart) to make a set of 4 and a set of 1.  Learning this concept will help children understand basic addition and subtraction facts by developing number sense first.

I like to make easy games that can be used at different levels of instruction.  This one works great at any time of the year, but October is a great month to play it too.  I give my children paper plates and let them draw a web out of 2 different colors.  Why not throw in some finer motor drawing at the same time?

There are different levels of playing the following game to meet the diverse needs of your students.


  • small paper plates
  • 2 different colored markers
  • flies or spiders from the dollar store


Playing this helps children learn they can take a set of objects and separate them into different sets.  This is also a great way to introduce story problems through play.  I call this game SOME HERE-SOME THERE.  I start by putting all 5 flies above the spider webs (in the air).  This represents the whole number of 5.  Then we say the story problem below.

This can be played over and over again by having the children play with different scenarios of the the flies getting stuck in the web.  They are learning that the number 5 represents 5 flies and the 5 flies can be separated into different groups. For example: 5-0, 4-1, 3-2, 2-3, 1-4, 0-5  This also lays the foundation for understanding the basic addition facts of 5.  


After your children have played SOME HERE - SOME THERE, add a die to the game. 
  • Put 5 flies on the left web.
  • Roll the die.  If a 6 is rolled, roll again.
  • Move the number of flies from the left web to the right web.
  • How many flies are on the left web?
  • How many flies are on the right web?
  • Say the number sentence.
  • 5 flies (total flies on the left at the start) - 3 flies (flies on the right now) = 2 flies (what is on the left web now).

Children need many experiences manipulating objects within a set BEFORE they begin recording their information into more formal equations and drawings.  After your children play this game several times, add some recording sheets (plain paper) or fold 4 sheets of 8 1/2 x 11 copy paper in half.  Staple on the left side to make a book.

  • Children play the Level 1 game first.
  • They draw 2 circles on each page to represent the web. 
  • Children draw a picture of the flies in the web to match the hands-on game.
I LOVE fall and teaching.  Have fun playing this game.

Thanks for stopping by!

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