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What does a Pre-Kindergarten Math Center Look Like? Same & Different

Pre-Kindergarteners need the opportunity to experience hands-on independent learning. In this way, they are able to explore the world around them and making meaning for themselves. This is far more effective than teacher centered instruction with pencil and paper drill and practice!

So what does a math center look like in the pre-kindergarten classroom? Check out some activities that pair with a lesson on identifying same and different patterns.

  • 2.1 PK.A.2 Count to tell the number of objects.

  • 2.1 PK.A.1 Know number names and the count sequence.

  • 2.1 PK.A.3 Compare Numbers. Same & Different

First, students will have the opportunity to look at flashcards and see groups that are the same and are different. Using manipulatives to recreate these groups is a tangible way for students to begin to associate meaning to these terms. In the early stages of learning, students will focus one one similarity or difference. In the example below, students are simply looking at color.

Next, students may begin to note the sizes of the groups and how that contributes to their similarities and differences. Using manipulatives as identifiers helps students visualize the quantities that they are working with.

Once students recognize that items can be grouped by number, they can quickly identify similar and different quantities of items. This skill will serve them well in many facets of life!

Finally, students are ready to organize groups depending on a variety of factors: color, number, size and type.

These differentiated center activities serve as a great foundational activity that can be easily built upon in the future. Centers should be active, manipulative, student-based, and exploratory. Just a few simple activities and materials encourage students to learn about similarities, differences, numbers, the count sequence, size, color, quantity, and shape!


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