1001 Things to Spot in the Sea, by Katie Daynes, presents an engaging and colorful array of water-related scenes – like a big “I-Spy” book. Children love these types of books – so much so, that their little gift from me for winter break was an I-Spy tube and card. Since bringing in this book, and another of the same series, 1001 Animals to Spot, they have been in hot rotation at quiet reading time.
This book ALSO provides the context for helping students use place value ideas to add with regrouping. We will use interlocking cubes and base ten blocks to figure out how many things they spot in each scene and then in the entire book. It focuses on strategies for combining the numbers to make it easier to count.
For instance, today we looked at the first page, “Open Sea”. I pointed to the humpback whale and took one cube and told the children that it represented the one humpback whale. I placed this cube on the chalk tray. Then I called on a child to see if they would make a stack of cubes to represent ten sea nettles, and still another to present the next animal (eight half moon fish). Each time, we kept a running tally as we added each animal to the chalk tray, right next to each other. We soon had a whole line of different size trains.
Because we kept a mental tally, we knew that there should be 64 cubes. I asked the students to show me with their fingers how many 10s were in the number 64, and they could all show me 6 fingers. I then asked, “How do we know that there are six tens in the number 63 if we don’t have six trains with 10 cubes each?” We soon decided to rearrange the trains of cubes into trains of ten, with 3 single cubes left over.
As we go through this book, children will get plenty of practice with hands-on materials to represent numbers, to use addition strategies including regrouping, and to make estimates. It will be very exciting to finally reach 1001 things in the sea!