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)



Then I ask Student B to place MORE yellow pom poms into the tray than the pink pom poms.


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.

Then I ask Student A to place less yellow pom poms into the tray than purple pom poms.

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

ABC Pattern


AB Pattern

29 comments

  1. I love the idea of the ice cube trays. I've never thought of it. Thanks!
    Megan
    mhorman@north-cedar.k12.ia.us

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