I’ve taught math all the way from preschool through the 8th grade and these are time tested tools that we’ve used over the years and really couldn’t live with out. I’d put them on my Christmas list if I were you. If you have littles these will change the way you teach forever. If you have older kids…you’ll know which ones you need.
There are larger versions of Judy Clock but there is no need for a homeschool class to have a big one. You can buy a package of 12 on Amazon for 10 bucks. I don’t know why you’d need 12 and I don’t know where we got her but she’s my favorite. Maybe you and another family or two could split the package and every kid could have one. They love them!
You don’t have to have specifically THESE little animals, but you need to have something like them. We have used these in so many ways. We’ve played store and made up different prices so the kid has to count out money. We’ve used them in word problems. “Two yellow cows went to pasture, 3 red horses joined them. How many animals are in the pasture.” We’ve talked about classification. Love love love these little guys. I know you’re thinking why would I need to keep them in the class room? If you want to do any of that stuff you’d have to send your kid off to find this type of item in their room, losing valuable school time and also losing their attention.
This one is probably pretty obvious. We use our plastic money EVERY DAY. If you have to go hunting for the real thing, you just won’t do it. Keep some play money in the school supplies (preferably a math box that is at the ready) and away from little players. If they get a hold of it, you’ll never see it again. Melissa and Doug is a great option.
Counting is a part of early math skill and memorization, but showing what that means helps make it concrete. We use these little beauties ALL the time. To make it ever more beautiful and practical they are each 1cm cubed and weigh 1 gram. So yes, they are very versatile!
We don’t use Tangrams super often, but when we do we love them. They are great for geometry in early grades and on up to older elementary grades. You can find printables on the online for shape pictures for littler kids. I like to do patterns that look like quilts with the oder ones. They can also learn about area formulas because you can see how a triangle is half a rectangle, making the formula 1/2bh more comprehendible. I like the ones I found on Amazon, they are wood. Mine are plastic.
Fractions can be hard for kids to understand. Especially just looking at them on paper. Putting fractions in a kids hands makes a huge difference. Even my second grader could easily figure out that 1/4 + 1/4 + 1/2 = 1 without me even teaching that concept. I just handed her the whole, halves, and fourths and let her figure some things out. Older kids use these too. They help with equivalent fractions, adding and subtracting. The neat thing about this set, is that they also show percents and decimals. It’s a must have!
I saved the best for last because if you were only going to get one new tool for your classroom This should be it. You will be amazed at how quickly your kids will understand the concepts of regrouping and place value when you use base ten blocks. I have never taught math with out them and I don’t know how that is even possible. You can use them to teach place value of whole numbers and decimals. You can even get a mat that separates the place value or make your own to lay these out and really get the most out of this perfect math tool.
That’s what we use! If you’ve got something you love, post about it in the comments. It would be great to hear all of your ideas!