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It has been 28 years since I taught math/science in a cooperative preschool. However, at that time we used bread tags (the rectangular twisters that keep the bread wrapping closed) because they did not roll onto the floor. One of the activities that we did was to match different sets of tags. To do this we would match pairs up in a line. If you had some tags left over, then that set had more in it than the other. If you used up all of your tags, then that set had less tags than the other. If you used up all of both sets of tags then the two sets had the same. One of the ideas that I like to see young children do is the following: take a number such as 7 and line up the tags in two rows with 3 in one row and 4 in the other. This is the same kind of number as five, which can be paired up 2 and 3. The numbers 7 and 5 differ from the number 4 because 4 can be set up as two rows of 2 each. The 7 and 5 each have one left over when divided into 2, whereas the 4 has none left over when divided by two. You are developing the idea of not only more/less but also of parity (even vs. odd). I hope that this sparks some ideas in you.
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