Friday, March 26, 2010

Sensory Water Play the Homemade Way

Here in Chicago, we should just call March what it is--WINTER! I’ve got 3 words for ya…cabin. fever. conditions. Parents and teachers of toddlers have to work especially hard to keep the little ones occupied.

When playing in outdoor puddles and wading pools are not an option, get brave and try them indoors. No fancy sand and water table required. Spread out the thick towels, fill a big plastic tub with water, and toss in some kitchen utensils. Just expect a mess…and a TON of learning fun!

Explore science and math principles (motion, measurement, capacity). Get curious--check out some simple tools around the house to see how they work. Practice motor skills such as grabbing, dunking, lifting, pouring.


Blow bubbles! Squirt in lots of dish soap. Teach a kid that straws aren’t just for drinking. Use canning jar rings to blow BIG bubbles.

Just a warning that toddlers don’t know to take a break and breathe in oxygen once in a while. My daughter got dizzy!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Explore a Growing Pattern with Color Tiles

Creating, describing, identifying, and extending patterns are important early algebra skills! Manipulatives enable students to build and extend patterns with their own hands. Even better--color-coded manipulatives help students actually SEE the patterns!

A numerical sequence is a common type of pattern. When a constant is added within a pattern (such as adding a quantity of 2 in the sequence 1, 3, 5, 7), the numerical sequence is more specifically referred to as an arithmetic sequence. And, the resulting pattern is known as a growing pattern.

Try this hands-on patterning activity, using color tiles, with your grades 3-5 students:

1. Have students begin with 1 center tile. Next, have them add 3 tiles of another color, 5 tiles of another color, and 7 tiles of yet another color--each time making a new square.

2. Ask students to write out the equations for each color-tile square they built, compare the equations, look for patterns, and discuss what they find.

3. Finally, have students predict the next equation, and use the color tiles to see if their prediction was correct.

Powerful stuff!

This blog is sponsored by Learning Resources. I am currently an employee of Learning Resources, Inc. I am also a former teacher and parent who uses their products on a regular basis. I often purchase Learning Resources products for my family's use, but sometimes I do receive free product samples to try out. My blog honestly reflects my personal and professional opinions and experiences.