It’s the end of the year and your students want to play and have fun while counting down to the last school day. Below are five activities that encourage students to problem-solve and work together.
Place Value Hopscotch
Create a place value hopscotch board with sidewalk chalk. (You can include higher values or decimals as well). One player hops and the other watches and figures out the number.
The player hops 5 times on the 1
0 times on the 10 and 100
3 times on the 1,000
2 times on the 10, 000
8 times on the 100,000
The other player must watch closely so he can figure out the number. Then, he writes the numeral on the pavement.
After students take turns hopping a couple times, have them compare the numerals they made. Which number is the largest? Who created the smallest number? Can they point out the odd and even numbers they created?
Capacity Relay Race
Split students up into two teams. Give each team a bucket of water and a sponge. Across from each team, set up different-size containers (cup, liter, gallon; also can include pint, quart, half gallon) in a line. Students within a team take turns racing to fill a gallon of water.
First, they must fill up their cup by dipping the sponge into the bucket of water and squeezing the water out into the cup. Once the cup is filled, they dump it into the next item. The item won’t be filled after a single cup. So, the next team member races to fill up another cup. Once the bottle is filled, they write down how many cups it took to fill the bottle.
Then, they dump it into the next-size container. The water won’t fill up the container. They have to start racing to fill up a cup again and figure out how many cups will fill up this container.
The winner is the first team to fill up the last, largest container and have the correct answers written down (how many cups are in each container).
Can you keep a Popsicle preserved from the sun’s radiant energy? Students test out a variety of insulators to see what type of material will preserve a Popsicle the best, preventing the transformation of solar energy to thermal energy. Students work in teams using aluminum foil, packing peanuts, bubble wrap, paper towels and newspaper, as well as a variety of other items to construct insulators. Then, they put their protected Popsicles out in the sun. Along with the insulated Popsicles, put one uninsulated, unwrapped Popsicle outside as well. Who’s Popsicle can withstand the heat? As soon as the uninsulated Popsicle melts, check your protected popsicles. Then, record your findings.
Students brush up on their vocabulary by creating words on the pavement. They take turns playing off of one another’s words. If you want to add a little math, write down letter worth near your writing area. Students can add up what their word is worth.
Let’s Roll Hula Hoop Math
Students roll a hula hoop down the pavement in a line. They mark the starting line and draw a line from the starting point to where it stopped. Next they use their measuring skills to figure out how many times the hula hoop rolled in a complete circle.
Have students cut a piece of string the size of the hula hoop’s circumference. They hold one side of the string and lay the other end around the hoop until it meets the side they are holding. The string represents the circumference. Then they use a ruler and measure the piece of string to find the circumference.
Students measure the line they drew on the pavement to figure out how far the hoop traveled. To figure out how many times it rolled, divide the distance by the circumference.
Younger students can simply use their circumference string and make marks on the line they drew. Then they count their marks. Their marks represent one full hoop.
How many times did your hoop roll?
Erin Bittman is a fashion designer turned teacher. She just graduated from the University of Cincinnati. Check out her blog E Is for Explore!