Mouse Counts

 Which One and Why

Remember the goal is to identify which one does not belong and why….. finish the conversation with Which one does not belong and why? Have students parrot back to you…. this one does not belong because…… This task builds focus, vocabulary and logical reasoning. Sorting by one attribute requires students to ignore distractors and focus on one thing. Sorting by two attributes is a complex task. In Grades 2 and 3 I expect students will challenge themselves to identify 2 reasons for which one does not belong.

New Which One August 2017



Mouse Counts

This is a NEW AND IMPROVED file that includes the story and several ideas for developing the math from Mouse Counts. Kin & Grade 1 we use the story to practice  RE TELLING skills in L.A. and to create a context for building and comparing dot collection cards for 2, 3, 5. The cards are then used to build vocabulary lists and to focus on sorting by attributes.

There is  a task included in the notes that might be more suitable to use with Grades 2 and 3 as it develops into a study of equations.  Each Institute we did a different variation on Mouse Counts so read through the notes to see what makes the best sense for you.

Final Mouse September Update 2017

sort fives close together (1).jpg

As students compare dot collections I pull the following vocabulary. This list is not required. It is a list to help you see possibilities: in a row, in a column, vertical, horizontal, close together, far apart, parallel, perpendicular, to the right, top right hand corner, to the left, top left hand corner, bottom right hand corner, bottom left hand corner, diagonal, above, below, like a triangle, L shaped: one above, two below, grouped in twos, grouped in threes, separated in small collectionsvocabulary for Dots

Check these examples for more ideas.

Vocabulary for Dots 2




This next file is the powerpoint of student examples for how to solve the problem: The mice tipped the jar and some escaped. We looked at these in Whitecourt and I suggested you might show them to students to engage them in a discussion of problem solutions. Do you understand the solution? Does it make sense? Can you give the student feedback on how to improve.  Student Samples for Mouse Problem

Here are hard copies of the solutions in the ppt above.Problem Sample Work

This file is some problems I created based on the Mouse Counts story. You might like to try some over the course of the year. More Mouse Counts to print






USE THE BLOCKS!!!!! Do not expect or allow just looking at the numbers… SHOW ME the BUILD!!!!!! Number properties make much more sense when you can see them in the materials. Building with the blocks does not mean you need to keep moving them. Can you look in your model and see the equations we are discussing.

Compare dot twos


This is a set of problems I developed around the mouse counts story. Some are about equal groupings, some have more than one solution. They are intended to be PROBLEMS. That means you do not know what to do when you first approach them. Students should get out materials and diagram and think.


This powerpoint is based on the snake catching mice in sets of 3, 4, 3. It is a version you might want to use for students who are confidently working with number to 10. It is not appropriate to early Grade ones as they need to build 2, 3 and the relationships to 5. However you might want to try it with Grade 3s.

Mouse Counts Catching in sets of 3 + 4 + 3