Blocks: Exploring Number
Step in Progression

Interaction Ideas (Blocks)

Precounting

You notice a child building towers with the blocks. Take the opportunity to build and compare towers with the child. Sometimes children will be able to compare the blocks by looking at them, but where the towers both have a similar number of blocks they will need to pair these to find out which tower has more. Note these questions are based on a direct comparison of the number of blocks in the two towers rather than a comparison of the heights of the towers.
You see that children have made piles of blocks. Encourage them to compare these piles.
Follow the comparisons with questions that ask children to describe their thinking:
Click to see an annotated interaction.

Onetoone counting

The children are playing with the blocks. Encourage them to count the blocks they are using as they play.
How many blocks?
Can you get some blocks?
Children are making towers with the blocks. Encourage them to count the blocks they are using. For example:
Children are building houses. Encourage them to count the blocks they are using as they build:
Follow up counting with questions that ask children to describe their thinking:

Counting sets

Children are building towers with the blocks. Focus their attention on the total number of blocks they are using.
You notice some children have taken boxes into the block corner. Encourage them to count the blocks in a box:
Children are making piles with the blocks. Support them to focus on the total number of blocks in each pile.
Follow up by asking children to describe their thinking:
Use numbered boxes/plates to develop numeral recognition:

Counting from one to solve number problems

Children are making towers with the blocks. Encourage them to count the blocks to describe the ways they are joining and separating groups.
You see some children building roads with the blocks. Encourage them to use counting to describe the ways they are joining and separating groups of blocks.
Ask follow up questions which encourage children to describe their thinking:

Counting on to solve number problems

You see some children building roads with the blocks. Encourage them to use counting to describe the ways they are joining and separating groups of blocks. Focus on the initial number of blocks to encourage children to count on or back.
As children play with the blocks, use counting to describe the way the blocks are being shared. Focus on the initial number of blocks to encourage children to count on or back.
Ask follow up questions which encourage children to describe their thinking:

Click for a version with the questions in both English and Māori.
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