Friday, February 28, 2014

5 Ways to Use Cardboard tubes, from my 5-Year-Old

Happy March!  I am very excited to again be participating with a great group of bloggers to bring you Project: Recycle Create.  This month we are working with card board tubes.  I was building a stash in preparation for doing "something" creative when my five-year-old walked in with a whole pile of inventions.  My task oriented side was almost annoyed, when I realized that he had not only done my assignment for me, but had come up with some pretty brilliant ideas!  

 Here are T-Rex's top projects for cardboard rolls.

A great pretend toy.  The clear plastic material is shelf paper remnants.

This is a moving toy.  Simply add a star sticker or drawing, then roll it off the bed.  Use glow in the dark stickers or paint, and you can create a realistic meteor shower!

Who doesn't need a place to keep their favorite stickers?  You can guess what kind have been popular at our house lately.

Another great pretend toy, and T-Rex's favorite.  You might substitute packing tape for the shelf paper remnant and paint these.   Even pretend binoculars present a wonderful new way to look at the world.

This is my personal favorite.  I plan to pull it back out and do some experimenting.  If we hit on anything especially interesting I'll share.  If not, maybe your child will enjoy just playing like T-Rex did.

So, what's your favorite idea?  Most of us have a study supply of cardboard rolls, so check all the great ideas from my co-hosts. 

 If you have your own ideas, link them up!  Later in the month, I'll share a few of my favorites.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

How does playing dominoes count for math class?

One of our school activities this week was dominoes.  Here's how I use it to cover specific math objectives.

First, let's remember that there are math skills built into the game of dominoes.  Understanding the rules of dominoes requires matching and pattern making skills.  Trying to win the game develops analytical and strategic skills which are valuable in mathematical problem solving all the way to the collegiate level.

When my kids were first learning to count, I would point to the animal that was laid down and count how many there were.  When they felt comfortable, they imitated me.

Now that my four-year-old is comfortable counting past six, and interested in addition (benefits of following a sibling!), I point out that there are six bees and six more bees.  "How many is that all together? One, two, three...eleven, twelve!" 

During the course of our game she interupted me.  "No, Mom, let me count."  While I do believe my child to be exceptional, I think most kids will do this naturally if it's modeled on a pleasant way.

My five-year-old has the concept of addition down and needs to work on counting higher numbers.  I thought this would be a good opportunity to introduce multiplication.  "Look, we have four sets of donkeys and each set has four donkeys in it.  How many does that make?  One, two.."  We also used some skip counting.

A key to making this an effective lesson for my children is  that I never require them to count.  I just model happily on every turn.  When they are ready, they copy.  Requiring them to stretch for a new skill would add stress and take away not only the fun, but also the effectiveness of the lesson.

Does just playing dominoes cover a sufficient amount of math?  It depends on what your objective is, and how you play.  For my objectives this week, I believe it did.

What games do you enjoy at math time?

Linked up with other great kid learning posts at 
parents as teachers

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Whose hole is that? Habitat study along the way

We were headed home from the play ground, when my four-year-old noticed this hole.  "Look, Mommy, a hole!"

My five-year-old immediately declared that this was an animal home.  After determining that it was a fairly deep tunnel, we began to discuss what type of animal would live in it.  He thought it was probably a muskrat.  She thought it was a beaver.

I asked whether the hole was big enough for those animals and whether they would typically want to hang out at the top of a hill.  My older child began to doubt his hypothesis.  The younger one is sure a beaver wants a tunnel from the river to the top of that hill.

I would guess that if it really is an animal burrow, it would belong to a snake, but I don't know.  It is fun to imagine possibilities.  Maybe some day one of them will be am expert naturalist who can point out the details needed to solve the mystery.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Morning Reflection

"Look Mom!"  I just love hearing that phrase.  " I can see myself. Why?" He continued.

I think part of the intrigue was that this was a plastic lid, not a glass mirror.  However, it works in just the same way.  The light waves hit the smooth surface and then bounce back off.  If you look very closely, a smooth surface is the same all over.  Each individual ray of light bounces off at the same angle at which came to the object. The part of the lid that is not smooth, has little bumps on it.  As the rays of light hit the little bumps in different places they bounce back in all different directions, and the picture is lost.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Fountain in the sink

My five-year-old called my attention to this interesting little phenomenon when he was supposed to be washing his face.  The water from the faucet hits the sink, and spurts up again in a little fountain.

When he noticed this little scene, my son was quick to say, "I don't know why that happens."   I hope he is always quick to recognize what is beyond his knowledge.  It is a wisdom that leads to greater understanding, and an example I want to follow.

I reminded him of our bumper car activity earlier in the week and asked what happened when a very little car, hit a big one.  "It bounced off."  The same thing is happening here. All those little water molecules are bouncing off of the big sink.  The force of the tiny molecules on the big sink is not enough to significantly move the sink, but the force of the sink on a tiny molecule makes it jump back into the air.  The momentum that the molecules have going into the collision is conserved although redirected.  As the sink fills, the water molecule interact with each other more and more, rather than the sink, and the fountain dies down.

Click here for more discoveries of Science Along the Way.