Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spring Things

I'm hesitant to say this.

I don't want to jinx anything.

But... it's finally starting to feel like spring again around here!  The snow has melted!  The sun is out!  I didn't even need a jacket outside!

Naturally, it was the perfect time to do some spring activities in first grade.

First up was our math lesson about symmetry.  We found things around the classroom that had a line of symmetry.  We thought of things on the playground that could have symmetry.  We discussed why certain objects may look alike, but are not symmetrical.  But seriously, what better way to teach students about symmetry during the spring that to make butterflies?!  

I traced the pattern on construction paper for them (to avoid the "accidentally traced on the edges instead of the fold and now I have two pieces" scenario).  The students cut out the butterflies and then in small groups I called them to use my Paint Dots to decorate only one half of the butterfly (because if we want it to be the exact same on the other side we can't decorate both or they'd look kinda different, Ms. Fowler!).  I've done this before with regular paint and brushes, but this was a little more controlled.  My only suggestion is to MOVE QUICKLY and be ready to squeeze a little extra paint out so that it will transfer to the other side when you fold the butterfly in half.  

I let the students fold over their butterfly and press down all over so the paint would transfer, but for a few I had to "touch up" because the paint was too light.  Usually I don't like to intervene with student art, but I did want them to understand that if an object is symmetrical, it needs to be the exact same on both sides.  I think these turned out pretty cute :)

Another activity we did was simple and fun and is actually two games in one!  On plastic Easter Eggs, I  wrote addition problems in permanent marker, with the addends on one half of the egg and the sum on the other half.  For the first activity, I split the eggs up and gave each student one half.  They had to find the student who had the missing part of their math problem and match up their egg halves to make the equation true.  Because I purposely had more than one egg with the same answer, the students could not rely solely on matching the egg colors.  Once they found a correct match, the students held their egg in the air and waited until everyone was matched and we could mix it up again.  

The second activity was in the form of Quiz-Quiz-Trade.  I gave each student a full egg and had them turn the halves so the answer was not visible when they read the addition problem.  We play Quiz-Quiz-Trade all the time using cards, so the students LOVED using eggs to jazz things up a bit!  

The students mixed (and they know to do this silently) and partnered up with the closest student near them.  Student A showed the addition problem to Student B.  Student B answered it correctly (way to go! says Student A) and then Student B shows Student A the addition problem on her egg.  Student A answers correctly (you're awesome! says Student B) and they trade eggs, only to partner up with another student.  I have found this is a good activity for 5 to 10 minutes or self-control tends to be forgotten :)

Do you have any creative spring math or reading activities?  I'd love to hear about them!

Heading out to enjoy the fresh air,


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