Bunk Bed Investigation

My kindergartners are investigating one of the big ideas of numeracy–decomposing numbers.

We have been using Cathy Fosnot’s Contexts for Learning unit, “Bunk Beds and Apple Boxes,” which is based around a story that comes from the accompanying big book, “The Sleepover.” The math investigation is based on the story of eight girls at a sleepover jumping back and forth between the top bunk and the bottom bunk in an effort to trick Aunt Kate who is hosting the sleepover.

We acted out the story in small groups with our bodies, moving children between two blankets we dubbed “the top bunk” and  “the bottom bunk,” looking for all the ways to make 8. Then we worked with partners to model and represent ideas on paper with partners before reflecting as a group and charting our ideas.

Understanding how numbers are composed and decomposed is an idea we keep returning to throughout the year, and one I know my students will continue thinking about long after they’ve left our kindergarten classroom.

I believe that teachers should search out quality resources that support responsive teaching. These Contexts for Learning units are both contextually meaningful and mathematically significant, the litmus test of all curriculum for me!

2 thoughts on “Bunk Bed Investigation

  1. I’m so grateful you posted this. We use this idea, bears in bunk beds and monkeys jumping on and off the bed in my first grade at the beginning of the year. I have been eyeing those Fosnot units for a while. She has been forming and informing my teaching for years. I love the way she thinks! I kept wondering if they were worth the $$ considering I’d be buying them myself. Now with your recommendation, I’m sold. Thanks for sharing and modeling what you and your mathematicians are up to. When I see your “name” in the from sections, it makes my day!

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