On February 27, the Blessed Sacrament group visited Ms. Robillard's first grade class to observe a math lesson on coin recognition. For the first forty-five minutes, we simply sat in the room and observed her teaching style and the students' reactions. We listened to a story book about how coins are made; Ms. Robillard alternated between reading the story and asking questions to which the children eagerly responded.
When the students returned to their desks, they each took out a packet of paper coins with which they frequently work. Ms. Robillard played a game with them to illustrate the multiple combinations of coins that can be used to form the same value. She posed questions such as, "Make 20 cents as many ways as you can." While the students worked individually at their desks, one child came to the front of the room to attach coins to a backdrop on top of the blackboard using velcro. We were able to observe the methods which the students used to count coins and arrive at the answers.
The students then played a similar game in groups of four, where a card was drawn that displayed an amount. The children took turns using their coins to arrive at the goal. They seemed very engaged in these activities and were eager to display what they knew. When it was time to stop, Ms. Robillard asked if they would like to play the game again another time, and the positive response was overwhelming.
After the class ended, our group spoke to the children for 5-10 minutes. We explained to them that we were creating a game specifically for their class to teach them about coins and money. We told them that we needed their help to determine the theme and gave them a choice between a haunted house and a circus. The haunted house dominated by 19-4. Then we gave the children an opportunity to ask us questions and offer suggestions. Some requested ghosts and vampires; another asked whether the haunted house was real (we said that we didn't think it would be real, but that it would seem like it was). The children, along with Ms. Robillard, were extremely excited about the program and happy to be included in the process.