This activity was such a fun, hands-on way to teach math. Students have been learning about shapes in kindergarten. (We did a shape hunt, a math talk and even some shape art.) Today we used popsicle sticks and worked together as a big group to create shapes. I handed out 10 popsicle sticks to every students, as well as a laminated sheet of paper. The sheet helps keep students work contained and in front of them. It also helps to prevent materials from getting lost. We sat in a large circle and I gave everyone a few minutes to explore (play) with their materials. (I always try to give a minute of free play when new materials are introduced. It gives kids a chance to get their hands on the materials so that when we are ready to work they are more focused.)
Once materials were all handed out and we were ready to start, I had everyone set their popsicle sticks out and count to make sure they had 10. I modeled this for students first, by slowly counting and touching my popsicle sticks.
Once we were sure that everyone had 10, we started creating our shapes. I made the shape on my page to help guide students who were unsure, but everyone was still responsible to make the shape on their page.
Once we made one triangle, some kids noticed that they had sticks left over and could make another triangle, and then another triangle. I asked everyone to make as many as they could and let me know how many they were left with. (1)
I continued to ask students to make different shapes, such as square, rectangle, and even a diamond (rhombus).
Finally, students were asked to create a picture using the shapes that we had been talking about. They made some beautiful designs. To end, I asked if anyone could make a circle. Students tried and worked hard to create one, but quickly realized that the sticks “needed to be curved!” I was so impressed when a few student simply put their elastic that was holding their popsicle sticks together onto their laminated sheet. What great thinking!
To end, I asked if anyone could make a circle. Students tried and worked hard to create one, but quickly realized that the sticks “needed to be curved!” I was so impressed when a few student simply put their elastic that was holding their popsicle sticks together onto their laminated sheet. They never cease to amaze me!