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Native American Storytelling Math with Loose Parts

November is Native American Heritage Month and we have been reading books as an opportunity to celebrate the diverse histories, traditions, and cultures of the Native people. 

We read the book Look, Grandma! Ni, Elisi! written by Art Coulson and illustrated by Madelyn Goodnight. This book is such a great way to celebrate diversity, math, and the power of storytelling! In the book Bo wants to find the perfect container to showcase his traditional marbles for the national Cherokee Holiday. He goes through so many different sizes to find the right fit.

After reading the story to make the literacy experience come to life, we set up an invitation to explore the volume and capacity of varying containers. It was such a great way to integrate the book through a hands-on measuring activity that uses math. To set the invitation, we placed different sized containers along with loose parts such as flat rocks, marbles, and crystals. We invited the children to explore fitting the loose parts into the containers. Through this they are discovering and exploring math just like the story while learning about volume and capacity through form of measurement.

Learning about measurements starts as early as infancy and develops throughout early childhood often without any adult guidance. The child‘s mind applies concepts of measurements in many of their everyday activities from infancy and throughout their childhood. Whether they are stacking blocks, weighing rocks, seeing how long a worm is, sorting objects, filling a container like in this invitation, measurement is present everywhere and everyday in their lives. Building on children's intuitive early concepts of measurement both in formal and informal ways to develop their vocabulary and understanding of measurement and comparison through exploring loose parts and reading books with mathematical themes will help develop a strong foundation of mathematics at a young age.

Playing tribute to rich ancestry through reading stories is a great way to honor the people while continuing to  honor, explore, and learn about Native American Heritage Month.

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