What?! Poker chips in the classroom?! Ah yes... whatever I can get my hands on that the kids will enjoy "playing" with math, I will use. Poker chips have been a fantastic manipulative for place value, games, scoring... lots of great math. Teigan and Liam are building addition and subtraction (with regrouping) problems for each other to solve. They check to make sure that the other one solves it properly. Straight math, but the difference is they're "playing a game". And I love hearing things like, "make a really hard one for me!" or "this one looks like fun", or "Mom can you make a board into the millions?" Math - only more fun.
Oh wait... more math! Engineering this time.
I almost didn't get this this summer, and yet it has turned out to be one of the best purchases from my "planning weekend"! Made by Keva, Contraptions is basically what you see... 200 little blocks of wood and two little ping-pongish balls. Plus some great instructions and ideas to get the kids started. And all they needed was to start. Samuel and Liam built an incredible contraption that the ball stepped down one side to the other, back and forth all the way to the bottom. Fantastic engineering, lots of trial and error, but in the end they had built an amazing tower and step shaft. (The puppy came running through and ruined it before I thought to get the camera - they were not happy about that!)
We do math in a book sometimes too. Just in case you're wondering. :)