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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Freebie: St. Patrick's Day Writing Prompt Cards

I'm already getting excited for St. Patrick's Day fun with my kiddos!  Check out what I did last year to celebrate with my SuperKids in this post.  I made some fun writing prompt cards to use for station work this year.
Download this fun freebie here!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

One more, one fewer - math freebie!


This is such a great activity to use in small groups and then transition into a math center/workshop.  It is also a nice way to informally assess your students' understanding of the plus and minus symbols, as well as the ability to easily add or subtract 1 from a number mentally and easily.

After reviewing what it means to add 1 or take away 1 from a number, as well as a review of our plus and minus symbols, the students get rollin'!  I have students roll the dice, record the number rolled, and then roll a dice with + and - symbols on it.  After circling the whichever symbol was rolled, they add or subtract 1 and record the answer.

I up the ante by having some students roll 2 die at the same time, adding the rolls together, and recording that number in the first column.

Even more challenging, I have other students roll dice labeled with numerals so they can not rely on counting the dots to find the sums.  Witness some fabulous finger-countin' action!

For my most advanced students, we use these decahedron dice that are labeled with the numerals 2-12.  After rolling 2, they find the sum, and then continue the game as usual.


You know it's a kid-approved math center when students turn over the page to continue!  Love it!  :)

Grab this recording page for FREE right here and make sure to leave me some feedback.  ;)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Ways to Make a Hexagon

After we've studied all of the 2D shapes, I love this lesson about putting them together to create hexagons in different ways.  I get such good insight into my students' general understanding of geometry with this fun and challenging activity!

After explaining and briefly modeling their "mathematician mission," I give the students each a recording page and wooden pattern blocks.  After they have discovered 6 ways to make a hexagon, they use the paper pattern block shapes to glue down their solutions.



Some of them couldn't find 6 ways in the allotted time, and that was just fine. 

We then gathered on the carpet where I had a poster-sized version of the recording page on the floor.  The students took turns using our large foam pattern blocks to share the ways we found.
 

The kids were shocked when I told them there are actually 8 total ways to make a hexagon using our pattern blocks!  As we found each of the 8 ways, we recorded how many of each shape was used in each creation:

This chart leads to great discussion about why the square and rhombus can't ever be used.  Even after finding all 8 ways, I had a few students who still insisted it must be possible to use the square and rhombus and tried for another 5 minutes before deciding I must be right.  ;)  They also had some great discussion about why the triangle was used so often.

While this lesson is part of our curriculum, I owe a huge thank you to Kathryn at Kindergarten Kindergarten for the idea of making the chart!  It was an excellent addition to this tried-and-true shape activity!