For our last math block of first grade we needed to cover odd and even as well as Roman Numerals. As luck would have it it Nightowl had absorbed Roman Numberals 1-20 via reading the Old Mother West Wind chapter books by Thornton Burgess (great Waldorfy books - btw). Scratch that off the list. We'll probably need to review next year but oh, how I love when the subjects overlap.
Now, whenever I mention math or anything math related Nightowl immediately begins chanting about Gnomes. She simply adores the little math Gnomes. So much that every math task needs to be Gnome related. I did no planning for this, but keeping the Gnome-love in mind started drawing a picture of the Gnome Divide on my large chalk board. Then I made up a story:
In the land of the Gnomes is a great jewelled forest - a dark and quiet place that has piles of jewels hidden everywhere. One day the king benevolent King Equals learned of this forest in a dream. Now King Equals just happened to be in need of jewels so that he could purchase supplies to build more houses for the creatures of his kingdom. He went to the forest to look at the jewels. Just as hew was about to gather a pile of jewels a great bird flew down.After illustrating this story on the chalkboard I went outside and hid several piles of "jewels" around the back yard. Then I sent Nightowl with her collecting basket to pretend to be Divide. Whenever she found a pile she sat down and attempted to divide up the piles. This was fun. We played this for a while and then began dividing other things into odds and even.
"Be careful kind King," said the bird. "These jewels are enchanted. Only piles of even numbers of jewels can be taken from this place. If you take an odd numbered pile they will simply disappear."
So, King Equals headed home deep in thought. He needed a Gnome who could search the great jewelled forest and bring back "even" piles - whatever that meant. Back at the castle he called on Divide and explained the problem. "What does even and odd mean?" asked the King.
Divide explained to the King that "even" means the pile can be divided into two piles with the same(equal) number in them. He explained that "odd" means you cannot divided the piles equally.
The King was a little confused so he asked if Divide would please go to the forest and collect the even piles. Divide was more than happy to and so he did.*
*I though I had a photo of this drawing but I seem to have lost it. Sorry I can't share.
The next day we discussed the story again. Then I brought out the 100-Board, which is a Montessori manipulative that I like. We looked for number patterns of odd and even. Nightowl learned that evens end with 2,4,6,8,0 and odds end with 1,3,5,7,9. Then we had a little game of "Guess which number?" where I called out random numbers and she classified them according to odd or even.
Overall, it worked pretty well.