This week, the children started to explore composition by focusing on the preliminary skills: the concept of ‘wholes’ and ‘parts’. By investigating their own bodies and familiar toys they began to understand that whole things are often made up of smaller parts and that a whole is, therefore, bigger than its parts. Composition of number is a key area of mathematics, and children need considerable and varied practice over time, based on meaningful experiences, to build their understanding of this concept.
Key language in this area can be tricky; clarity around a ‘whole’ and how it is different from a ‘hole’ needs to be made explicit. You can use gesture to support this. Further confusion can arise from other composition language, e.g. when do we mean ‘a part’ and how is this different from ‘apart’? We used the following stem sentences to help consolidate understanding:
Parts can join together to make a whole.
My […] is a part of me and the whole of me is [name].
Towards the end of the week we started to explore the composition of numbers 2 and 3, using squares of coloured card to represent the Numberblocks 2 & 3. The children were able to physically explore the parts making the whole of 2 or 3 and were able to start saying "1 is a part and another 1 is a part and the whole is 2"
"I can see 2 is a part here and 1 is another part and the whole is 3".
This week, we also spent some time learning about AB patterns - these are patterns with only 2 parts repeating (think red green red green or dog cat dog cat – even though the objects repeating are different, the way they repeat “ABAB” is the same).
The children were asked to notice if the pattern was a AB pattern, describe/say the patterns aloud and then continue the pattern by saying what would come next. They became very confident at spotting AB patterns and continuing them and some children created their own patterns in different areas of provision to show their understanding.
Home Learning Challenge:
Provide different materials such as 2 different types of pasta shapes or grapes & tomatoes, 2 colours of pompoms for crafts, 2 types of natural treasures (sticks, conkers, leaves etc).
Make an AB pattern using some of the materials you have collected from around the house/garden. Can your child describe your pattern? Is the pattern correct throughout? Can they spot any mistakes? Can they say what the next 2 items in the patterns should be?