Bedtime Story & Study: Anno’s Counting Book

Anno's2BEDTIME STORY:  Anno’s Counting Book, by Mitsumasa Anno

“Every child is a natural mathematician, according to Mitsumasa Anno. Children start to count long before they learn their ABC’s, for they are constantly comparing and classifying things and events they observe around them. As they try to bring sense and order into what they observe, they are actually performing basic mathematical feats.  In this book, Mitsumasa Anno invites young readers on a stimulating adventure into the world of numbers and counting. Gentle watercolor pictures show a landscape changing through the various times of day and the turning seasons, months and years, and the activities of the people and animals who come to live there. But the seemingly simple plan of the book is deceptive: look more carefully and you will see one-to-one correspondences; groups and sets; scales and tabulations; changes over time periods; and many other mathematical relationships as they occur in natural, everyday living.   Look at this book and look again. Each time you do so, you will find another application of a natural mathematical concept that you had not noticed before.”


Read this book again in the morning and see what patterns you can find that you didn’t see last night.  On the floor or at the kitchen table, use physical objects to create a counting pattern.  Use a different object for each number group.  For example, 1 apple, 2 matchbox cars, 3 crayons, 4 grapes, 5 bunny crackers, 6 beans, 7 blueberries, and so on.  Number values should first be taught using concrete sets of objects to represent each number.  Older children can draw and color sets of objects also.  If you’re feeling ambitious, add objects together and then take objects away to begin introducing the idea of addition and subtraction.  Play!


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