- materials that vary in texture, size, shape, and color, such as wood blocks, plastic and cloth blocks, bristle blocks, dolls, animals, vehicles, sand paper, felt, furry fabric, shiny paper, fabric, terry cloth, burlap, corrugated cardboard plastic, bubble wrap, and Styrofoam
- pictures of people showing different emotions and/or activities. book about opposites such as How Big Is a Pig? by Clara Beaton
Objective: Children will develop math, observational, creative-thinking, and language skills as they identify "opposite" characteristics of different objects.
- Read children a book about opposites to introduce the concept. Ask if they can think of opposite words (big, little; happy, sad). Encourage them to notice the attributes of things that define them as opposite.
- Ask children to think of specific things that have opposite qualities. For instance, a mouse is little and an elephant is big; daytime is light and nighttime is dark. If children are unable to name specific opposite sets, ask questions such as, "What is the opposite of fast, hard, big, sad, or hungry?" to encourage ideas.
- Invite children to explore different materials to learn about opposites. Set out a container with some of the recommended materials. Ask children to create opposite sets of items. Encourage them to look at size, shape, color, and texture. If they are using photographs, ask children to find pictures that depict opposite emotions or activities. Ask questions and engage children in discussions that encourage them to notice differences.
- Ask children to share their observations with the class, describing why they feel the items chosen are opposites.
- After everyone has had an opportunity to identify opposite sets, ask the group to find items that are similar. Provide them with time to explore and discuss the similar materials they have identified.
Extension: Place a banana, avocado, and apple on the table for the children to observe. On a sheet of chart paper, write the heading Banana, Avocado, Apple: Alike and Different. Ask the group to describe how the items are alike and different. Encourage children to touch, smell, and taste the fruits. Record their comments as they explore and compare each fruit.
Curriculum Connection: ART/LITERCY
Simon Says the Opposite. Play a version of Simon Says that encourages children to think about opposites. In this version, children are challenged one at a time to think of an opposite movement when Simon says "jump very high," "keep your arms still," "wiggle your arms," or "move slowly." Invite children to take turns being "Simon."
Clifford's Opposites by Norman Bridwell
Exactly the Opposite by Tana Hoban
The Lifesize Animal Opposites Book by Lee Davis