Ready-To-Use Teaching Ideas: Math
- Different-shaped snack crackers
- Soft cream cheese, butter, or other appropriate cracker topping
- Dull plastic knives
- A large bowl
- Paper plates
- Child-made place mats
Objective: Children will use observation, matching, sorting, classifying, visual/spatial, and finemotor skills.
In Advance: Make the special-snack place mats. You will need: white construction paper; pre-cut circles, squares, rectangles, and triangles (enough for each child to have a variety); a marker; paste or glue; and clear adhesive paper. Put the pre-cut circles and the glue or paste in the center of the table. Invite children to pick out and glue a few circles in one section. Repeat with the other shapes until children have pasted a different set of shapes in each section. Write each child's name on the back of her place mat, then cover with clear adhesive paper.
- Gather the children at the snack table. Help chilldren pour the crackers into a large bowl. Ask: "Who can find two crackers that are the same? Who can find two crackers that are different?"
- Now sit down for your snack. Ask children to I look at their place mats and review the shapes together. Then say: "Take a cracker and see which shape it matches on your place mat."
- When children have made all their matches, set out the cracker toppings and plastic knives. You might comment as you see the shape matches disappearing: "Oh, I see Ivan eating a square. Now Beth is eating up all her rectangles!"
Remember: Don't worry if children cannot name the different shapes. The activity is meant to give children practice in matching shapes, not in memorizing what is a circle, what is a square, and so on.
Art: Encourage children to creatively investigate geometric shapes through different art processes. Children can create colorful sponge paintings using sponges that have been cut into different geometric shapes. Tangrams can be created with pre-cut construction paper shapes that are glued onto paper to create recognizable images or designs. Use geometric-shaped cookie cutters when children are working with wet sand or clay Invite children to create block prints by dipping different-shaped wooden blocks into paint and pressing them onto paper.
Circle Song by Diana Engel (Marshall Cavendish)
Shapes by Jan Pienkowski (Little Simon)
Shapes and Things by Tana Hoban (Simon & Schuster)