Math activities: one-to-one correspondence

The concept of one-to-one correspondence requires two skills: (1) matching pairs and (2) comparing sets. Combination places two similar items together as a pair while comparison determines which set has more or less. In these projects, the key is to focus on the language, emphasizing mathematical terms.

Books to read
The following books teach one-to-one correspondence using stories. I love the impact a story has on comprehension, and these books do a great job of packaging math ideas in a way that young children can understand.

Two of Everything: A Chinese Folk Tale by Lily Toy Hong
Knots in a Rope for Counting by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault
Seaweed Chowder by Stuart J. Murphy
A pair of Stuart J. Murphy socks
Stuart J. Murphy’s Lost Mittens
Monster Musical Chairs by Stuart J. Murphy
Just Enough Carrots by Stuart J. Murphy
Some things go together by Charlotte Zolotow

Projects to learn Matching

Project 1
Take the opportunity to point out situations where there is a matching set. Word emphasis: match, even, pair, each.

  • There are three cups and three straws. it is even.
  • Three children and three cookies. It’s a match!
  • A pair of socks for your feet. One foot for each sock and one sock for each foot.

Project 2
Provide the following items and let the children sort them into pairs. Word emphasis: match, match.

1 ice cube tray
2 screws
2 washers
2 electrical circuit binders
2 matching butterfly clips
2 matching hairpins
2 cents
2 matching buttons

Project #3
Host a tea party with teddy bears. Set a spot for each bear. You could say, “A seat for every bear and a bear for every seat.” Word emphasis: each.

Project #4
Serve a lunch with matching shapes to make your own snacks. I used cookie cutters to cut the bread, cheese, and deli meat into equal shapes. I provided at least two different shapes so they had to find the combination to build their sandwiches. Word emphasis: party.

Project #5
Play the memory game. Word emphasis: match, match.

Projects to learn by comparing

Project 1
Take the opportunity to point out situations where there is not enough or too much to go around. Word emphasis: more, less, less, even.

  • Oops, I grabbed an extra straw. There are three cups and four straws. There are more straws than glasses.
  • We have six chairs at our table, but only four people in the family sit at the table. That leaves two empty chairs because there are more chairs than people.
  • Today we have a company, so we have eight people and only six chairs. We have fewer chairs than people, so we’ll need two more chairs.
  • Three children and four cookies. There are more cookies. If I eat one, it will be even.

Project 2
Invite the children to collect toys to put inside two hula hoops. Then count to see which hula hoop has the most toys and which one has the fewest. Ask, “Which set of toys has the most? Which set has the least?” Word stress: set, more, less, even.

Project #3
For two cups of water and compare the volume. Which cup has more? Which one has less? Word emphasis: more, less, even.

Project #4
Make sugar cookies and put chocolate chips in the frosting. Compare two cookies to see which has more chocolate chips. For an added lesson, determine how many chocolate chips need to be added to make them even. Word emphasis: more, less, even.

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