This week's Math Work Station chapter was about Geometry. I know I keep saying this, but I am SOOOO thankful for all the wonderful activities that my blogging friends have posted! I am also glad that I have participated in the Blog Party, instead of just being a 'stalker'! I now have so many great activities to use at home with my son and will keep in my files for the future! Who else is sad that next week is our last chapter?!
This summer I have been doing lots of fun early learning geometry activities with my 2 year old. Read all about in this post. She is quite good at spotting shapes and loves to do her shape puzzles! Today's post will focus on the activities that I am doing with my 5 year old son, since the blog party is for grades K-2!
3D geometric solids Match Up - my son picks one of the plastic 3D shapes and then searches the house to find objects that match them. It's fun to see what items he selects. Our two year old is eager to participate so I leave out some easy items for her to match at the same time! To extend this activity in the future, I will ask my son to draw the objects he finds or maybe trace them to make it a bit easier. I liked the book's idea of taking a digital camera on the shape hunt and photograph objects but I never seem to print the photos...so drawing will likely work better for us!
Building 3D Shapes - this activity never gets boring! For our buildings we have used a wide variety of materials: mini marshmallows & toothpicks, coffee stirrers & clay, straws & pipe cleaners, Popsicle sticks & play dough, and newspaper rolled tightly & tape. To build larger structures we use commercial products such as Straws & Connectors, Crazy Forts, and Tinker Toys. One activity that I am planing this week is to have him build cubes with various materials to show that a cube built with toothpicks and one built with Tinker toys has the same number of edges and corners, but it's on a larger scale. (This may also be a nice lead into measurement activities, which is the focus of next week's chapter.)
Look for Shapes in Nature - a couple of weeks ago we went on a "triangle walk" in the woods. It was amazing to see how many naturally occurring triangles we found. We will definitely do this again but look for different shapes!
Find the Hidden Treasure - I loved this idea. I have written directions on index cards for my son to follow to find a hidden treasure chest. I like the idea of practicing positional words and have tried to make the text simple enough that he could read them independently. I also used arrows and simple drawings for added support. After he does my hunts, I will help him in writing the clues and then Daddy can look for the treasure!
Shape Designs - using large foam shapes my son makes elaborate designs. His pieces are always symmetrical so I thought I would introduce that term and have him practice symmetrical drawings. I liked the idea of using pattern blocks and a mirror to draw a symmetrical design.
I think I will also fold a few pieces of paper in half, let him paint one side, and then squish the pages closed to show him symmetry in another medium.
Tangrams - a new favorite activity at our house. I searched online for "free tangram printables" and found lots of choices. My favorites are at http://www.tangrams.ca/ because they are simple to do. I printed the puzzles on one side and the solutions on the reverse. For now we are just using the solution side to rebuild the design and later we can try to solve the puzzles. (I personally find tangrams very challenging, so I like knowing the solution is handy for me!)
Pattern Block Designs - My son has been using his Melissa & Doug Pattern Blocks & Board set for several years. This has pre-printed images that he basically just lays the pieces onto. I knew he was ready for more of a challenge and was excited to see the templates DeeDee posted this week. Her templates are smaller than the actual size of the blocks and this will make him think a bit more as he recreates the design on his own. She also posted a response page to record the number of each of the shapes, which I think extends this activity nicely! (Thanks DeeDee...we especially liked making the flag on the 4th of July!) Check out the printables at: http://www.mrswillskindergarten.com/2011/07/math-work-stations-blog-party-chapter-7.html
We also own the Melissa and Doug Beginner Pattern Blocks. These are great for younger children since the blocks fit into place and won't slide around. My two year old is now an expert at these! I enjoy bringing both of these sets out for the kids to use side by side. It's fun when they have similar activities that they can both do independently! When she's ready I found these simple pattern block templates that I can print. My tip is NOT to laminate them because they become slippery and it's frustrating to younger kids. http://prekinders.com/pattern-blocks/
Geoboards - we have just started exploring with these. So far my son just makes creative designs and he loves it. I plan on introducing task cards to guide him in making specific shapes. I will add a link when I find a good one.
Blocks - my son loves to build with our wooden blocks. I can see working some geometry lessons into this by using task cards such as, "Build a tower with 5 rectangles and 3 triangles." "Make a square by using only triangles."
Another idea is to let him create a building and then make a 'blueprint' of it or record how many of each shape was used.
Thanks for reading! I'm looking forward to learning lots of new geometry ideas from all my new blogging friends! The host for this week's chapter is: