Ready-To-Use Teaching Ideas: Math
- A variety of three-dimensional geometric objects, including paper tubes, jars, plastic container lids, cardboard boxes (varying in size and shape), empty yarn or thread spools, and buttons
- Precut geometric shapes in paper, cardboard, and fabric (varying in size, color, and texture)
- Geometric stickers
- Glue, string, masking tape
- Washable tempera paint, paintbrushes, markers, and smocks
- Creative thinking
Send a note home requesting donations of the suggested art materials. Place a large bin or box in the room where families can deposit their donations. Plan the activity for when you have enough materials for small groups to make sculptures.
Introduce the art activity during group time. Place a variety of the geometric objects in the center of the floor and invite each child to take a shape. Ask children to find classmates who have similar shapes. Assist them in identifying the various shapes.
Explain to the children that they will use the materials to create sculptures. Divide objects into separate piles, each containing a range of shapes, sizes, textures, and materials. Invite a few children at a time to the art area to work. Encourage them to work through problems they might encounter while trying to balance or secure materials together. Provide guidance if needed.
Allow a day for glue to dry before children add paint, stickers, or drawings. Plan time for each child to present his or her work to the class. Encourage children to describe how they made their sculptures and how they solved any problems.
Find an area to exhibit the sculptures. Explain that artists often title their artwork. Invite them to think of a title or name for their sculptures, or dictate information about their sculptures to include in the exhibit.
Remember: When children engage in open-ended, problem-solving activities, it is important to observe how they handle materials as well as how they react to and resolve problems. Helping children verbalize and share how they solved a problem is an important skill and helps classmates learn, too.
Toast Shapes: Share this fun math activity with families. Ask parents to hold a shape discussion with their child. Suggest they talk about the number of sides various shapes have. Invite parents to toast several slices of bread and give their child a blunt-edged plastic knife or a geometric-shaped cookie cutter. Remind parents to assist their child in cutting the toast into triangles, squares, or circles, top the shapes with a favorite toast spread, and enjoy.
CURRICULUM CONNECTION: MOVEMENT
Make a shape: Cut out a square, triangle, circle, and rectangle shape from separate sheets of colored paper. Tie together the ends of a very long piece of string. The string should be long enough so that all children can hold it up to form one group circle. Hold up one of the color paper shapes and assist children in making the string become that shape. Repeat the activity until all the shapes are made.
My Shapes/Mis Formas by Rebecca Emberly (Little, Brown & Company, 2000; $5.99)
Shape Space by Cathryn Falwell (Beacon Press, 1992; $19.99)
The Wing on a Flea by Ed Emberly (Little, Brown & Company, 2001; $15.95)