At our school, we strongly believe in the benefits of inquiry, exploration and play based learning – for all of our students, but especially our youngest students in KG (kindergarten). One of the best strategies our teachers implement are **open-ended math centers**.

Here are a few reasons why we love open-ended math centers:

- open-ended math centers have no start or finish, which means there are never students who are ‘done early’ and never students who need to ‘finish their work’
- open-ended math centers allow students of different abilities to self-differentiate and explore the math concepts and skills they are developmentally ready for
- open-ended math centers allow students to construct their own meaning, collaborate with their peers and engage in authentic conversations about math
- open-ended math centers allow teachers to observe and collect assessment data in a non-threatening, non-stressful environment.

Take a look at some of our open-ended math centers in action. **What do you notice?**

How many of the following Common Core State Standards for Kindergarten Math are being explored?

How many of these Common Core State Standard Mathematical Practices are being developed?

Here is a sneak peak into how we plan for **open-ended math centers**:

Manipulatives |
Writing Tools |
Boards/Placemats |
Teacher Questions/Prompts |
CCSS |

Dot cards (p.34 guide for effective in kindergarten) | white boards markers, pencils | white boards | How many dots are there?
Which has more? Has less? |
6 |

Any ( peoples, farm animals, cubes) | white board markets, pencils | white boards, papers, dot cards, stampers, two circle placemats | How many are in this circle? How many are in that circle? Which group has more? Less? How could we make it equal? | 6 |

number line, counters | white boards markers, papers | white boards, papers | How can you show me this number? Can you show me a number bigger than this number? Less than this number? | 6 |

counters | white boards /white board markers | ten frames | What number did you build? How many more do you need to make ___? How do we make ex: 11 ? | 3 |

shape blocks | pencil, markers | paper | What do you notice? What are you drawing? Tell me about that shape? How are these shapes the same? | 3 |

building blocks
number cards |
playdo | How do the numbers look different? How do they look different? Choose two numbers. One of them is a lot more than the other. What are they and how could you write them? |
3 |

We are always growing in our own understanding of math centers and play-based learning, so we would love your feedback about our open-ended math centres. We would also love to hear about and see what early math learning looks like in your classroom!

michaelbondcleggOctober 9, 2015 / 8:21 amThis is fantastic – our MYP 1 classes have just started doing math centres! I will forward them this post to see if they can’t draw some inspiration from how open these centres are.

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MolyNovember 30, 2015 / 7:09 pmI’m curious to see what open-ended math centers would look like in upper elementary. Time to do some inquiring…

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tbondcleggDecember 4, 2015 / 4:50 amIf you find anything interesting in your inquiry please share. I’d love to learn more about open-ended centres in upper grades!

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MolyDecember 4, 2015 / 5:42 amOf course! 🙂

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