The last time I was in first grade, I followed suggestions I found in The First Six Weeks of School, and many of the first days started with guided discoveries of materials in the classroom. I shared the discovery we did with Play-Doh the other day, and this one was very similar, but with pattern blocks and Power Polygons.
We started by talking about what they might be for, as well as why the pattern blocks, Power Polygons and other items on the shelf (dice, counters, clocks, square tiles) had in common. We figured out they were all about math, and that later in the year we would be using them as we learned more about geometry, but for our first “visit” kiddos were supposed to make something, and then write what they made on a card so we would all know what it was. As with all open-ended activities like this, I was amazed at how each kiddo attacked the assignment–how they started, what they made, how they figured out what to call it, how many different pictures they were able to make (based on the complexity of their design or the speed at which they worked). If we had already gotten our iPads, we could have practiced taking our own pictures, then uploading them into something and writing about them (or using the recorder and telling about them), but instead we just talked. And smiled because we were so proud of our creations. It was easy to tell that kiddos were learning and having fun at the same time!
Check out our creations below!
Students: What did you create with your blocks? How did you decide what you would make? What would you do if you were given the assignment again? What was easy and what was hard?
Parents: What did your kiddo tell you about this experience? What questions do you have?
Teachers: What explorations/discoveries do you have with pattern blocks? Other manipulatives? What suggestions do you have?
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