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Moving Colors

This is a great primary activity from one of our Youcubians, Deb Morton. It encourages class participation and discussion as students explore equality as they move around the room. Deb says, “The students have fun looking at what they did and then realize math is all around us and in our lives everyday. And at the end I have a carpet seating chart complete.”

Task Instructions

  • Give each student a colored circle (or use different shapes) red or yellow (or other colors) that you have pre-prepared. We don’t recommend using gender or other personal characteristics. There should be equal numbers or one more of one of the colors.
  • Ask students, “How many students have red circles and how many have yellow circles.” Encourage them to get up and move around the room to work this out.
  • Ask students, “How can we show that we have an equal number of each color or more of one color than the other color?”
  • During these questions observe students interactions as they try to problem solve and justify.
  • Ask students, “How many students can fit in a row on the carpet?” “How many rows will we have?” “What would be the best arrangement?”

As students complete each task, record the number sentence on the board.


Deb Morton, a veteran primary teacher from Lake Elementary in the Vista Unified School District, Vista California