Number of the Day– This is an activity that I first read about in a book titled Guided Math (click the link to learn more). In this activity, students use their critical thinking skills to represent numbers. The activity also provides opportunities for students to practice composing and decomposing numbers, an essential skill for building students’ math power.
For this activity, prepare a sheet of chart paper, whiteboard space, or interactive whiteboard space. Based on the age and ability level of your students, write a number at the top of the space. For example, a Kindergarten teacher may write the number 10 in the space, whereas, a fourth or a fifth grade teacher may write the number 1000. As students arrive, or during another designated classroom time, students write various representations of the number in the space. See the pictures below for examples. As you can see, I encourage creativity!
After all students have had an opportunity to add input to the space, review the representations together. Allow students to ask questions about the representations and the contributing student to respond. Often times, students will question why a particular representation was included. This provides an excellent opportunity for the students to develop communication skills and explore different ways of thinking about numbers.