Saturday, January 23, 2010

Guess the Number Game

We've been doing a lot of guessing games in class. Like in circle, to get the children to calm down and focus on me, I may say, "I'm thinking of a living thing (of course I would have had presented living and non-living things lesson). It flies. It likes to visit flowers. It starts off as a caterpillar." And the children long before this point will already be raising their hand. I call on one and he/she'll say. "You're thinking of a butterfly!" Or we may play a little game at the end of the class when I call them one at a time so they can say goodbye to me. I may say, "I'm thinking of a boy. I'm thinking of a boy whose name starts with the /r/ sound." Or I may add, "He is wearing a green shirt." Then Ram would say, "That's me!"

Another kind of guessing game that we do, in a small group or in pairs, is Guess the Number. One child writes a number on a small chalkboard and tells if his/her number is higher or lower than the number given out by the guesser(s).

Bea and Felipe, both 5, bonded over this work. Before this, Bea
didn't like to work with Felipe just because "he's a boy". After doing
this activity together, Bea said to Felipe, "I will introduce you to my daddy."

Bea has written down her number, Felipe guesses, and Bea says, "It's higher than that", raising the appropriate sign. Felipe uses a laminated sheet with the numbers 1 to 50 written in rows and columns. This serves as his guide. For 5 and 6-year-olds though, start within 1-20. For younger children, start them with 1-10 and see how they progress. Watch out if they're ready for more numbers.

Felipe has guessed Bea's number and she is happy for him as she says, "That's it!"

Now it's Felipe's turn. This is really an exciting work for the children
and I'm proud that they can still keep a certain discipline enough to maintain
non-distracting voices and giggles and to make sure that the things on their
rug are nice and neat.

Felipe's saying, "It's higher than 14." Note that I always encourage the children
to talk in full sentences even if I already know what they're going to say.
If a child approaches me and says, "Open", I may say, "Or you can say,
'Teacher Mars, can you open my water jug please.'" This helps children communicate
preferences and ideas better.

I like guessing games like this one because they also indirectly develop
logical reasoning / multi-step rationalizing. A few turns of guessing after,
the children eventually learn if-then situations like if the number is
higher than 13 and lower than 15, then it must be 14. Of course they may
not formulate the if-then sentences that way, but they get practiced
using the strategy anyway.

The children love this work and I hope the pictures convey that
even if I couldn't get real clear ones because of their merry movements!


  1. This looks like a really fun and intellectual game! I'll try this one out with my tutee... though she might be too old for it, I'm sure she'll still have fun! I'll send you a link once I've done it! :)

  2. Have fun, Cheryl.

    How old is your tutee, by the way.

    And just a quick update about this work, I found that it is better to do this: If the guesser said, "Is it 5?" It is better for the "guessee" to say, "It's higher/lower than 5" instead of just saying "it's higher/lower than THAT". For obvious reasons, the language makes the activity more effective.

    Enjoy. :) I look forward to your update.

  3. Hey I really wish you could teach my child..I think you are brilliant!!!

  4. Thank you for that very heartwarming comment. :)

  5. A very nice article thanks for all the good idea's

    1. Thank you, Gordon! I'm happy you appreciated this! :-)