QR Codes for Counting

Counting with QR Codes
I linked up to Manic Monday at Classroom Freebies. Scroll to the bottom of the post to download your own set of QR code activity sheets.
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
Ever since I discovered how teachers in upper elementary grades were using QR codes in their lessons, I was desperate to find a way to make it work in our classroom.  I think QR codes are just so much fun! I mean really, what kid doesn’t like to scan things? I still get excited when I go through the self check line in the grocery store and get to scan my own groceries.  In case you’re not sure what a QR code (quick response code)  is, here’s a picture:

qrcodefixed blog.11869627

You can scan that image with a barcode scanner and the image will give you information. Sometimes it will give you text, sometimes it will link to a website. There are a number of other ways that a QR code can connect you to the internet, but I haven’t figure out all of those ways yet. The QR code above links to text. You can scan it to find out what it says. 🙂  All you need to read a QR code is a smartphone. There are a number of free apps that you can download that will allow your smartphone camera to scan a QR code, and also “old fashioned” bar codes.  Search “barcode scanner” or “QR scanner” in your app store to find one. The one that I liked for our ipads was this one.  It was really simple to use and seemed to be pretty reliable.

There are also websites that will allow you to *create* your own QR codes.  That’s when I think things start to get really fun. Here’s a link to the website I used to create the QR codes for this activity. Many teachers have been creating activities where students complete a task and then scan a QR code to check their work.  I knew my preschoolers would love an activity like this but I struggled to find one that didn’t require any reading, adding, or complex math skills. (My students aren’t able to do any of those things.)  Finally I thought of a way to make an activity that would use QR codes and be appropriate for their level. 

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we’ve been working on learning the teen numbers in our class. It takes us pretty much all of the Spring semester to master this, so we’re always on the lookout for ways to spice things up.  I decided that I could making a counting activity that allows the children to check their counting by scanning a QR code.  Here’s an example:

QR code 15

The child must count the kitty cats. Then they write their answer in the space that says “How many?”  Then they scan the QR code to see if their answer matches the one that comes up after scanning. If you scan the code above, it will tell you how many kitties there are. I made cards for numbers 11-20.  You’re welcome to download them for your own use. They are shared here using Google drive. 

One of the tricky aspects of this plan was figuring out which tools the students would use to scan the QR codes. We knew that we could put a scanner app on the ipads, but we were worried that the size of the ipad might make it a bit unwieldy. Turning over our cellphones to preschoolers wasn’t our first choice.  Finally we also had our underutilized ipod. We decided to start out with ipads and the ipod, but be prepared to switch to our phones if the ipads just weren’t working. In the end, there really wasn’t much difference between using the ipads and the ipod.  It was easy to scan with either device, once they got the hang of it. If anything, scanning with the ipads was easier.

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What did turn out to be challenging was the multi-step process that this activity required.  When you break the activity apart, it really is a lot for a preschooler to handle.

  1. First they had to count the items correctly.
  2. Then they had to figure out which written number matched the spoken number they had used when they counted. (They used the number line to help with this. Boy Mama Teacher Mama is offering a free number line on her website if you’re looking for one.)
  3. Then they had to write the number correctly.
  4. Finally they had to scan the number to check their answer. 

Most of our kids could do it, but a few struggled, particularly the ones that are still forgetting 11 & 12. They would get bogged down on step 1. Our HeidiSongs helped with step 2. For example if the child counted “sixteen” but couldn’t remember what a “sixteen” looked like, we’d just start singing. 🙂 “A one and six is a sixteen…”  There were also a few kids getting bogged down on step 3. We realized that we need to review number formation with a some of our kids. Happily, scanning proved to be the least challenging of all the steps, so hopefully they saw it as a reward. We’re thinking we may go another round with QR codes to see if the multi-step process gets easier with practice!

Click on the picture below to download your own set of QR Code activity sheets:

qrcodespinnable

Update: I’ve made another set of QR code activity sheets.  Click the image below to see them and download your own set.

QR Codes for counting

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