Ice Cube Tray Math

The best part of math is using manipulatives.  Before we complete our daily math worksheet, I always introduce or practice our objective using some sort of visual or manipulative.  Here is an example of how I use ice cube trays to practice more and less than.  I use this first by demonstrating for the students using the ELMO projector, then I break them into partners and we practice using guided instruction.  I give each pair the title student A and student B.

First I say, “Student A, place 3 pink pom poms into the tray.”  (the first time we do this, I give them a specific number and color that way I can glance around the room and see if everyone is doing it correctly)
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Then I ask Student B to place MORE yellow pom poms into the tray than the pink pom poms.
photo2 17
I ask them to empty the tray and we try another one.  I ask student B to place 5 purple pom poms into the tray.
photo3 15

Then I ask Student A to place less yellow pom poms into the tray than purple pom poms.
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Another great way to use the trays is to practice patterns.  I use this as a center, where the students pair up, one does a pattern on once side of the tray, and their partner needs to copy their pattern and then they switch.  Here are some examples…

AAB Pattern
photo1 2 6

ABC Pattern
photo2 2 6
AB Pattern
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One response to “Ice Cube Tray Math”

  1. Megan Horman Avatar
    Megan Horman

    I love the idea of the ice cube trays. I've never thought of it. Thanks!
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