Down River Resources
Copyright Kindergarten Down River 2014. Powered by Blogger.
Your young mathematicians and engineers will LOVE designing and constructing fun robots composed of two-dimensional shapes, or 2-D shapes! Depending on the grade level, your mathematicians and engineers can use their shape robots to show how many circles, triangles, squares, rectangles, rhombuses, and hexagons, and how many sides and vertices they used! This activity is bound to get your mathematicians and engineers critically thinking about the role robots play in our society. 




Top Way to Excite Young Students with Geometry and Engineering Using Robots


Students love ending a unit with a fun, culminating project. This two-dimensional robot craftivity is perfect for the end of a geometry unit OR engineering design unit. While I designed this project for kindergarten, first, and second grades, it could be throughout elementary school. There are several options that can be used for differentiation or a mix of these grade levels!

* Please note: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites, at no extra cost to you. I only recommend items that I use regularly and know you will love! 

Build Excitement Using Literature



First, I love using literature for interdisciplinary connections. I read Love, Z or Robot in Love to get engineers interested in robots. I usually teach two-dimensional shapes in January or February, so these are my favorite robot titles for this time of year!


Then, I read a short informational text that I wrote, The Most Important Thing about Robots. This text is patterned after the published book, The Important Book, by Margaret Wise Brown. By reading the informational text about robots aloud, I create shared knowledge with the class about some robot basics. 


Engineers learn about how robots help humans, the two main reasons robots are constructed with examples, and the two types of robots through the text. This robot knowledge will come in handy for the next part of the activity.


Designing a Two-Dimensional Robot 



The engineers use the knowledge they gained from the texts read aloud to design their robots. If you are interested in moving through the entire engineering design process, you can first have your students design or sketch their robot. Depending on your grade level, you might want your engineers to think about the limitations, or constraints, for their design. 

For example:
  • When using this activity with kindergarten engineers, they are limited to ONLY using circles, triangles, squares, and rectangles. 
  • When using this with first grades and above, engineers are limited to ONLY using circles, triangles, squares, rectangles, rhombuses, and hexagons.
  • These limitations above were generated based on the grade level standards.
  • You could create additional limitations, such as: "You can only use 12 shapes total." OR "You can only use 4 rectangles."

Engineers should think about the purpose of their robot. ASK: How does your robot help humans?

After engineers decide how their robot will help humans, they should plan the tasks that the robot should be able to do to carry out its purpose. This will determine what type of pieces, or parts, they will use.


Constructing a Two-Dimensional Robot 



After engineers design their robots, they can use the pre-printed templates to cut out the two-dimensional shapes to construct their robots. 

PRO TIP: I printed one full set of two-dimensional shapes in each color of cardstock. I placed the copies in the center of the group and engineers shared the pages. There are so many shapes included that one set of shapes per student is too much! 

You can also have engineers compose their own shapes using the attributes of two-dimensional shapes. This directly hits grade level standards but can be more challenging! You can use the pre-printed templates for tracing though to make this easier for engineers. I recommend using colored construction paper if using this option. This is also a good challenge for upper elementary engineers.

Engineers will need to glue the two-dimensional shapes together to construct their robots.

Once completed, engineers can use a half-sheet of paper to count the two-dimensional shapes included in their design. There are two different headings included: "My Robot Has..." or "I Like Shapes a Bot!" The shapes included on these printables are grade level specific, so there's three options.

Finally, engineers can use a recording sheet to name their robot and describe how their robot helps humans by doing three tasks.

In this photograph below, this kindergartener was challenged to use all of the shapes included to differentiate. The half-sheet of paper for counting the shapes was created for first grade engineers, but this kindergartener used it successfully. 

If you look at the engineering design report, this robot called Musicbot helps humans by making music when a band member is sick. Musicbot is able to play polka music, dance on stage, and walk on stage. {This kindergarten work sample amazes me!}







After looking at all of these work samples, I can't wait to see what your engineers design! 

Extending the Learning about Geometry and Engineering Design



Included in this set, there are 12 constraints cards. (See the orange set of cards in the lower left-hand corner of the photograph below.) If you need to differentiate the craft portion of the activity, you could assign a constraint card to an engineer. 


PRO TIP: I recommend cutting and placing all of the two-dimensional shapes that are left over from constructing robots in a plastic storage bag. Place the 12 constraints cards on a binder ring and slip into the bag. This becomes an instant station!

This can be used in a math station, science station, or engineering station to extend the learning.

There is an additional recording sheet for accountability if desiring to use the materials within a station. 

If mixing two-dimensional shapes and engineering design is a good-fit for your classroom, you can snag it right here in my TpT shop. 


I'm looking forward to seeing what your engineers design! Tag me on social media. 


Paper folding provides elementary mathematicians with the opportunity to visualize fractional size, and once stacked, allows students to see equivalency as a way of naming the same size area using a different number of units. There are several ways to use paper folding to visualize concepts that lead to fractional understanding including: comparing halves and fourths, generating equivalent fractions, adding fractions with unlike denominators, and subtracting fractions with unlike denominators. Here are my favorite ways to use paper folding to teach fractions conceptually:



The Best Ways to Teach Fractions for Understanding Using Paper Folding




1. Comparing Halves and Fourths


This paper folding activity is best used with mathematicians in first or second grades OR mathematicians who are struggling in upper grades.


➡️ Focus: Halves and Fourths


1️⃣ Fold one rectangular paper (copy paper or colored cardstock) in half. Then, cut the paper in half along the folded line. 


2️⃣ Fold another rectangular paper in half and in half again. Then, cut the paper in fourths along the folded lines.


3️⃣ To support vocabulary development, write “one fourth of paper” on each of the four equal pieces of paper and “one half of paper” on each of the two equal pieces of paper. 


4️⃣ After preparing the halves and the fourths, have one mathematician hold one of the halves and another mathematician hold one of the fourths. 


5️⃣ Compare the pieces by holding them next to each other on on top of one another. 


6️⃣ Ask: Who has the larger number of pieces? Who piece is largest?


These can be posted in the room as a reference, helping mathematicians visualize the concept of halves and fourths as well as the relationship between the two fractional parts.


This fraction paper folding activity focuses on following standards:

→ TEKS- 1.6G Partition two-dimensional figures into two and four fair shares or equal parts and describe the parts using words.


→ TEKS- 1.6H Identify examples and non-examples of halves and fourths.

→ TEKS 2.3A Partition objects into equal parts and name the parts, including halves, fourths, and eighths, using words.




2. Generating Equivalent Fractions with Paper Folding and Number Lines 


This paper folding activity is best used with mathematicians in third grade OR mathematicians who are struggling in upper grades.

➡️ Focus: 1/2, 2/4, 3/6, and 4/8


1️⃣ Take a paper strip. Hold it horizontally. Fold it vertically down the middle. 


Ask: How many equal parts are in the whole? Two. What fraction of the whole is one part? One half. 


2️⃣ Draw a line to show where the paper was folded and label each half 1/2, one out of 2 units.


3️⃣ Repeat procedure and fold paper strips to show thirds, fourths, and fifths. 


4️⃣ Draw a number line that is a little longer than the paper strip. Use your strip as a ruler to mark zero and 1 above the line, and 0/2 and 2/2 below the line.


5️⃣ Use the number line to generate equivalent fractions using the other paper strips. 


This fraction paper folding activity focuses on following standards:

→ TEKS 3.3F Represent equivalent fractions with denominators of 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8 using a variety of objects and pictorial models, including number lines.

→ TEKS 3.3G Explain that two fractions are equivalent if and only if they are both represented by the same point on the number line or represent the same portion of a same size whole for an area model.

→ TEKS 4.3C Determine if two given fractions are equivalent using a variety of methods.





3. Adding Fractions with Unlike Denominators 


This paper folding activity is best used with mathematicians in fourth and fifth grad mathematicians OR mathematicians who are struggling in middle school.

We lose a lot of mathematicians when introducing addends with unlike denominators. 


➡️ Focus: 1/2 + 1/3


1️⃣ Ask: Can I add one-half plus one-third? 


2️⃣ Discuss with your partner.


3️⃣ Share out with the class. Sample answer: “I cannot add one-half plus one-third until the units are the same. We need to find like units.”


Continue below for the rest of this activity.



4️⃣ Make like units by folding paper as shown in the photograph above. 


This fraction paper folding activity focuses on following standards:

→ TEKS 4.3D Compare two fractions with different numerators and different denominators and represent the comparison using the symbols >, =, or <.

→ TEKS 4.3E Represent and solve addition and subtraction of fractions with equal denominators using objects and pictorial models that build to the number line and properties of operations.

→ TEKS 5.3H Represent and solve addition and subtraction of fractions with unequal denominators referring to the same whole using objects and pictorial models and properties of operations.





4. Subtracting Fractions with Unlike Denominators 


This paper folding activity is best used with mathematicians in fourth and fifth grad mathematicians OR mathematicians who are struggling in middle school.

Just like adding fractions with unlike denominators is tricky for mathematicians, so is subtraction!

➡️ Focus: 1/2 - 1/3


1️⃣ Ask: Can I subtract one-third from one-half?


2️⃣ Discuss with your partner.


3️⃣ Share out with the class. Sample answer: “I cannot subtract until the units are the same. We need to find like units.”


4️⃣ Draw one fraction model and partition it into two equal units. Then, write one-half below one part and shade. (This makes it easier to see one-half after changing the units.


5️⃣ Draw a second fraction model and partition it into thirds with horizontal lines. Then, write one-third below one part and shade. 


6️⃣ Now make equivalent units. 


7️⃣ Ask: How many new units do we have? Six units.


8️⃣ Ask: One half is how many sixths? One-half is three-sixths. One-third is how many sixths? One-third is two-sixths.


9️⃣ Write the equation with the number missing. Cross out 2 of the 3 shaded sixths. 3/6 - 2/6 = 1/6.  So, one-half minus one-third is one-sixth!


This fraction paper folding activity focuses on following standards:

→ TEKS 4.3D Compare two fractions with different numerators and different denominators and represent the comparison using the symbols >, =, or <.

→ TEKS 4.3E Represent and solve addition and subtraction of fractions with equal denominators using objects and pictorial models that build to the number line and properties of operations.

→ TEKS 5.3H Represent and solve addition and subtraction of fractions with unequal denominators referring to the same whole using objects and pictorial models and properties of operations.



I hope this post inspires you to use paper folding to teach fractions conceptually?

How will you use paper folding in your classroom?



Make sure to pin and save this post for future reference.


Reading or writing numerals has nothing to do with number concepts. Helping young mathematicians read and write the 10 single-digit numerals is similar to teaching them to read and write letters of the alphabet. Young mathematicians may be able to read and write some numerals more easily than others. For example, the numerals 1, 3, 4, 5, and 7 are often mastered before 2, 6, 8, and 9. These challenges to numeral formation, also called numeral writing or number writing, doesn’t have to be repetitious practice; it can be engaging! Here's how:



8 WAYS TO PRACTICE NUMBER WRITING:


1. Trace over pages of numerals. 

You can use dotted lines or write in a highlighter and have young mathematicians trace on top. It is through this type of practice that they train their brain how to form the numerals.

You can adding a dot for the starting point to help mathematicians remember when to begin.

This mathematician is using Numeral Tracing and Writing Pages.

2. Make numerals from clay or dough. 

This is a fun and interactive way that young mathematicians can practice number formation. 


3. Write numerals in shaving cream.

On a hard, clean surface, spray and spread shaving cream. Young mathematicians will use their pointer finger to form the numerals as directed.


4. Write them on a dry-erase board or chalkboard. 


Young mathematicians can use large or personal sized board to practice writing numbers. One of my favorite tools to use during small group instruction is a personal sized magnetic drawing board. The mathematicians love using them and I love saving paper! 

PRO TIP: I used these fun mini magnetic drawing boards from a dollar store in my small group area. No erasers needed! 


5. Write numerals in a sand tray or salt tray. 

Use a small wooden or plastic tray and fill it with sand or iodized salt. Mathematicians can use their pointer finger to write their numbers in the sand or salt. 

PRO TIP: I like using the sandwich containers from a dollar store that have a lid. We can quickly snap the lid off during use and snap it back on when not in use. {If you're like me and want to avoid a mess, only use these under supervision! Don't say I didn't warn you.}

Display cards from Numeral Writing Toolkit.

6. Write numerals on top of a zippered bag full of colored hair gel. 

PRO TIP: Use darker colored hair gel, such as green, to create a contrast between the gel and the table surface.

If you look close enough, the mathematician wrote the numeral '4' in the hair gel. Placing a white paper behind the bag creates a contrast to reveal the numeral more easily.


7. Write numbers in the air using a straight arm and point with two fingers (pointer and middle fingers placed together). 

Yes, mathematicians need to use two fingers to point! They are exercising additional muscles when performing this action since this activates the brain more! "Two fingers and straight elbows!" I often exclaim when writing numerals or letters in the air.


8. Trace numerals on sandpaper or other textured material. 

Cut out rectangles of sandpaper or other textured materials to create a mat for mathematicians to trace or write numerals.

I used some leftover clear cabinet liner with deep grooves. I placed numeral cards underneath the textured material to emphasis the correct formation.

Tracing cards from Numeral Writing Toolkit

Writing Numbers is Fun!

There are several ways to practice numeral writing to lead to students' success. Incorporating a variety of activities helps engage all of the young mathematicians in your classroom. 

If you are looking for support in this important skill, you may be interested in my numeral toolkit


The numeral writing activities described in this blog post, focus on following standards:

→ TEKS- K.2B

→ The student applies mathematical process standards to understand how to

represent and compare whole numbers, the relative position and magnitude of whole numbers,

and relationships within the numeration system.

→ K.2B Read, write, and represent whole numbers from 0 to at least 20 with and without objects or pictures.

→ CCSS K.CC.A.3

→ K.CC.A.3 Write numbers from 0 to 20. Represent a number of objects with a written numeral 0-20 (with 0 representing a count of no objects).


I hope this post inspires you to practice numeral writing in a variety of ways.

How will you practice numeral writing in your classroom?



Make sure to pin and save this post for future reference.



WHEW! You made it to December and students and teachers alike are exhausted! Let me help you plan a socially-distanced party for your classroom, a Zoom party, or a Google Meet party! No matter if you are celebrating the end of 2020 virtually or in-person, you can have a memorable day with your beloved students. You can also snag printable lists of ideas to share with your co-workers!




The Top Ways to Celebrate Classroom Parties


You have had a hard year. Your students have too! 

Celebrate the end of 2020 in style with these fun classroom party ideas.

Zoom Party Ideas for the Classroom 


Are you able to mail something to your students? Do you have students picking up supplies, materials, and resources? 

You can grab something individually wrapped and send it to your students to have a special treat during your meeting!
  • Drink hot cocoa together
  • Eat popcorn
  • Send home or deliver a “party-in-a-bag” (popcorn, cocoa, bingo card, craft materials, candy cane, or other goodies/activities to use on party day)

Want to keep it hassle-free, friend? 

Here's a few dress-up and dress-down ideas and activities that you can do on a virtual meeting:
  • Wear pajamas 
  • Wear fancy clothes
  • Dance to music
  • Play Simon Says or Dance and Freeze 
  • Bring a stuffed animal for story time
  • Do a directed drawing 



Socially-Distanced Party Ideas for the Classroom


Want to spread some good cheer this holiday season? I can't think of a better way than to:
  • Make cards for family or nursing/senior living facility 

You'll need to deliver or mail the cards to the facility. It's a little job for you but will bring so much joy to this community who has been affected so deeply this year. It will also spread the message of gift GIVING too!


Here's some more ideas that you might like:
  • Do a craft or craftivity
  • Watch a movie
  • Decorate cookies
  • Play games
    • Bingo
    • Pictionary
  • Eat individually wrapped snacks

Are you ready for a cute treat for your students for their Winter Party?

  • Serve rootDEER floats, for each student use:
    • 2 candy canes for antlers,
    • vanilla ice cream for face,
    • cherry for nose, and 
    • root beer served in a plastic cup!


I have these complete lists and a BONUS list for Teacher Gifts for your co-workers and/or children's teacher! Snag the lists below!


How are you celebrating the end of the calendar year?
Tag me @downriveredu on social media!



SNAG LISTS FOR PARTIES & GIFTS HERE

    We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.
    Back to Top