Thursday, 13 October 2011

it all started with a question

‘How many children are in our school?’ asked Melchior the other day.

And do you know what?  I don’t actually know.  I know about how many but not exactly  how many.  I wonder; how could we find out exactly how many?

‘We could count’, was the general consensus.  ‘We could count all the children in our school.  We could go to each class and count them.’  Well, yes, counting would work.  But it might be tricky to count all the children.  How would you know who you have already counted and who you might have missed?  After all, children are notoriously fidgety!

Béatrix to the rescue.  Out she nipped and in a flash, back she came with a list.  A list from Helga (of whom more later!) of the numbers of children in each class.

But – oh dear; it was full of BIG complicated numbers like 19 and 23.  They would be quite hard to count!

What if we used something to represent those BIG numbers and what if we organised the numbers to make them easier to count?  How about using a square of paper to represent each child in the school and how about organising them into strips and sticking them onto a BIG sheet of paper?  In short, how about making a g r a p h ?



You need a friend to work with (counting BIG complicated numbers can be a bit tricky on your own) some scissors, some tape and some strips of paper squares (5 to a strip).  And your counting fingers.  You and your friend need a class to be responsible for and you need to know how many children in that class.


You’ll get some paper squares, stick them together into a long strip…..


and count carefully…..


to make sure you have the right number.   You might need to count more than once, just to make sure…..

And pretty soon we will have  a graph!  A graph with ‘each square one child’ as Tim aptly put it; one paper square for every child in our school.  What a lot there must be!


And now I wonder; what things can we find out from our graph?

Tim: ‘2b have more than 1b’; (1b - that’s us!)

Bianca counted: ‘There are 24 in 2b.’

Ella: ‘2b has the most children.’

Melchior: ‘In reception they are the same.  They both have 21 in their class.’

Yousouf: ‘Class 2b has more than 2o.’

Emily: ‘There are 21 children in Ms Leitner’s class.’

Nicholas: ‘Class 1i has 21 people.’

Yanis: ‘In 1o they have one less than 1b.’

Aalian: ‘There are 9 classes in our school.’

What a LOT of things we can find out just from one graph.  And as well as all those things we found out together, I now know how many children we have in our school.  Why not get someone to help you count so you know too?

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