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December 7, 2018

Delightful Gingerbread Lesson for Kindergarten

By Brian Smith

Teach sequencing, empathy and STEM thinking.

Grades PreK–K

    Key Takeaways

    • Teach kindergartners about sequencing by making gingerbread men.
    • Help students build empathy with a hands-on activity.  
    • Teach STEM thinking by building a contraption to help the gingerbread man escape the tricky fox!

    Do you know the five steps to creating a gingerbread man? My kindergarteners do! They learned each step in Let's Find Out's "Gingerbread Man" issue. And perhaps more importantly, they learned about sequencing! My kids did such a great job of getting the idea of first, then, next and last with the pictures and text features of this issue.

    (Try this issue for free, here.)

    Vocabulary Builder

    I love how Let's Find Out features a BIG WORD for my kids to learn, such as SCRUMPTIOUS.

    To help students remember their new vocabulary word, we created a list of scrumptious foods. It was quite a list, and I heard the word scrumptious at least 15 times during lunch!

    Sequence Activity: Time to Cook!

    We headed to our alphabet carpet. The kids immediately noticed all the gingerbread-making supplies on the table, and they started telling me all the steps that we had just learned from Let’s Find Out!

    I made sure that everybody had a job, from softening the butter to adding the final gumdrop buttons. This helps everyone feel personally connected.

    Learning that feels personal always sticks longer, and I need my kids to understand sequencing for many years to come.

    SEL Gingerbread Man Activity

    Over the week we read five different versions of the Gingerbread Man story. We created a chart shaped like a gingerbread house. On our chart, we compared:

    • Characters
    • Setting
    • The refrain
    • The ending

    The kids caught on and began predicting what would happen because the storyline had become familiar.

    We also started to feel bad for the gingerbread man because he gets tricked in every story!  Feeling empathy for the gingerbread man, the kids decided to help him get across the river without having to trust the sneaky fox.

    STEM Activity

    This was the perfect time for a STEM activity. In my room, I have a STEM station that I love. It’s full of Popsicle sticks, pom-poms, ping-pong balls, fabric, bells, different sizes of disposable cups and other materials.

    The kids got in groups of three and sketched out an idea about how to get across the water and then used our STEM station to build their ideas. Finally, the kids tested their concepts. I gave them a gingerbread man (the Little Debbie kind). They tested to see if their contraption would get their gingerbread man across our bucket of water in one piece. Some did and some didn’t, but they all learned about science, technology, engineering and math!

    As you can tell from these three activities, we get really wrapped up in our gingerbread unit. Every May when we start talking about our favorite parts of kindergarten, it is always one of the first things to come up. I love kindergarteners and I hope you love these activities as much I do.

    To bring Let's Find Out to your classroom, click here and save 40%.

    Brian Smith teaches kindergarten at Wittenburg Elementary in Alexander County, North Carolina. He was named the district's 2017 Teacher of the Year.

     

    Key Takeaways

    • Teach kindergartners about sequencing by making gingerbread men.
    • Help students build empathy with a hands-on activity.  
    • Teach STEM thinking by building a contraption to help the gingerbread man escape the tricky fox!

    Do you know the five steps to creating a gingerbread man? My kindergarteners do! They learned each step in Let's Find Out's "Gingerbread Man" issue. And perhaps more importantly, they learned about sequencing! My kids did such a great job of getting the idea of first, then, next and last with the pictures and text features of this issue.

    (Try this issue for free, here.)

    Vocabulary Builder

    I love how Let's Find Out features a BIG WORD for my kids to learn, such as SCRUMPTIOUS.

    To help students remember their new vocabulary word, we created a list of scrumptious foods. It was quite a list, and I heard the word scrumptious at least 15 times during lunch!

    Sequence Activity: Time to Cook!

    We headed to our alphabet carpet. The kids immediately noticed all the gingerbread-making supplies on the table, and they started telling me all the steps that we had just learned from Let’s Find Out!

    I made sure that everybody had a job, from softening the butter to adding the final gumdrop buttons. This helps everyone feel personally connected.

    Learning that feels personal always sticks longer, and I need my kids to understand sequencing for many years to come.

    SEL Gingerbread Man Activity

    Over the week we read five different versions of the Gingerbread Man story. We created a chart shaped like a gingerbread house. On our chart, we compared:

    • Characters
    • Setting
    • The refrain
    • The ending

    The kids caught on and began predicting what would happen because the storyline had become familiar.

    We also started to feel bad for the gingerbread man because he gets tricked in every story!  Feeling empathy for the gingerbread man, the kids decided to help him get across the river without having to trust the sneaky fox.

    STEM Activity

    This was the perfect time for a STEM activity. In my room, I have a STEM station that I love. It’s full of Popsicle sticks, pom-poms, ping-pong balls, fabric, bells, different sizes of disposable cups and other materials.

    The kids got in groups of three and sketched out an idea about how to get across the water and then used our STEM station to build their ideas. Finally, the kids tested their concepts. I gave them a gingerbread man (the Little Debbie kind). They tested to see if their contraption would get their gingerbread man across our bucket of water in one piece. Some did and some didn’t, but they all learned about science, technology, engineering and math!

    As you can tell from these three activities, we get really wrapped up in our gingerbread unit. Every May when we start talking about our favorite parts of kindergarten, it is always one of the first things to come up. I love kindergarteners and I hope you love these activities as much I do.

    To bring Let's Find Out to your classroom, click here and save 40%.

    Brian Smith teaches kindergarten at Wittenburg Elementary in Alexander County, North Carolina. He was named the district's 2017 Teacher of the Year.

     

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