Ready-To-Use Teaching Ideas: Problem Solving/Literacy
- small plastic animals, insects, dinosaurs, trucks, cars
- small plastic or wooden people
- variety of wooden blocks
- sticks, rocks, shells
- recycled materials such as paper tubes, egg and milk cartons, small boxes, plastic applesauce or yogurt cups, bubble paper, and Styrofoam packing material
- plastic drop cloth
- chart paper and marker
- drawing paper, pencils, markers, scissors, tape
- camera and film
- sand table
Objective: Children will develop creative-thinking, problem-solving, communication, and literacy skills as they work together to create sand environments.
In Advance: If you do not already have the suggested recycled materials, send a note home to families requesting donations. Sort and place the listed materials in separate boxes or containers. Ask parents to send in magazine pictures that depict different types of buildings, landscapes, or outdoor environments.
1 Write the word environment on chart paper and explain to the children that environment is the world around us. Engage the children in a conversation about different types of environments. How does their school environment differ from their home environment? What is their outdoor environment like?
2 Hang up the different magazine photographs of environments that the children and their parents found. Ask the children to describe the environments they see. Explain that you would like them to work together in small groups to create environments in the sand table. Each group will work for one day. Invite them to look at the photographs for ideas.
3 Show the children the materials. Explain that they can use water to mold the sand or to make bodies of water. You may want to show children how a plastic bowl or a sheet of plastic drop cloth can be placed in the sand table to create an area for water. Encourage the children to share ideas and problem solve.
4 Photograph each group with their finished project. Invite the children to describe their environment to the class. What materials did they choose and why? What difficulties did they encounter? What did they learn as they made their environment?
Writing: Place a photograph of the child's sandtable environment on the top of a sheet of paper. Provide each child with a pencil and ask them to write a story about their environments below the photograph. Assist children who may need help writing or who may need to dictate their story to an adult. Invite the children to share their stories during reading time. Children can also create a book for the class library or a wall exhibit with their stories.