Montessori Elementary Homeschool Blog - with documentation of our infant Montessori, toddler Montessori, and primary Montessori experiences; as well as preparation for the upcoming adolescent Montessori homeschool years.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Negative Snake Game - Signed Numbers - Upper Elementary

He wanted to build a snake that would definitely be negative - gray - and deep negative - lots of gray.

So he did. 

But see - he is actually just slightly beyond this work. He is 10, but started this work in lower elementary - he was just ready (LOVE that about Montessori ;) ). He needed (and requested) review before we move into operations with signed numbers (negative numbers) and it has been a while since he has worked with the negative snake game. (see disclaimer regarding the name of this material at the end of this post).

Thus, being this work is not a challenge for him, he MADE it a challenge. Instead of bringing down two bead bars at a time and doing this work based on math facts and number lines, he found various patterns:
  • all positives/negatives that cancel each other out - eradicate and move on
  • grouping together a series of negatives, getting one answer (such as negative 38), then grouping together some positives and balancing it out
  • groups of beads (3-bar and 4-bar in positives, eradicate those with a negative 7-bar
  • verified by finding all those matches again, grabbing them in matching groups rather than aligning one positive and one negative - definitely a sign he's beyond the work ;) 

Well, hey, he's using his math facts ;)

When he wrote the work on paper, before beginning to change the color of the snake, he grouped together each "set" of positive and negative bars, writing -16 for a -4, -7, -5; then writing +12 for +9, +3; etc. 

His idea:
use the underside of the boxes for the bead stairs.
Glue felt underneath the boxes, he says. 

Final answer. 

I started to sort the bars to actually match;
then realized, better to show what Legoboy actually does ;) 

So the final value of the snake is the positive (colored beads) matched against the negative beads;
what is leftover from either side should match what the snake turned into. 

He did this whole process with two snakes - which is a lot. One long snake is usually sufficient - providing a worksheet full of math facts, but he very clearly stated he wanted practice, he wanted good photo ops (to him, these are fantastic photos ;) ), and he wanted to prove his smarts. He said that. Goof.
(Again, I emphasize: ONE long snake is sufficient for one day. Really.)

***Disclaimer: My AMI albums have the following snake games:
1) Addition Snake Game - primary
2) Subtraction Snake Game - primary
(children can review these in lower elementary)
3) Negative Snake Game - later lower elementary or early upper elementary; other signed numbers work can come later

I have heard of other snake games, but these all seem to be one of the following:
1) an extension of one of the snake games listed above
2) a form of verification on one of the snake games listed above
3) unnecessary for most children
4) another NAME for one of the snake games listed above (I have seen the subtraction snake game for the primary level called the "negative snake game" - which makes no sense, because we are subtracting at that point, not "adding negative numbers")

Link to Montessori Nugget on Snake Game names

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