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Back with more STEM story time activities.  This week we covered math skills.

Math isn't just numbers and counting. The Erikson Institute Early Math Collaborative has a ton of ideas about sets and sorting, matching, patterns and sequencing, graphing, etc. Many have great book suggestions to get you started and be sure to look for the home activity cards to download.

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Our main book this week was the rollicking fun classic Ten Apples Up On Top! by Theo. LeSieg and illustrated by Roy McKie.

It was well received. I made a story board with contact paper (see instructions below) and cut out foam apples to count.

The red foam circles started out on the tree and we moved them over as we read the book. The yellow ones are because the kids added extra "apples" later.

Although I put a hold on it at the library awhile ago, I didn't get my other choice, The Water Hole by Graeme Base, until after the class.

After I opened it up, I realized why the patron who had it previously didn't want to to give it up. It is gorgeous!

Given that it was initially published in Australia, I thought this reading of the story was appropriate. It is sad when the water hole disappears.

I'm considering buying a copy so I have it on hand next time.

STEM Activity Station 1. Window Shape Sorting

Original idea seen at Happy Tot Shelf.

Gather for adult to make ahead of time:

  • Clear Con-tact paper (found at hardware store)
  • Foam sheets (art/craft supply)
  • Foam shapes - best if don't have sticky back - for kids to sort
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Round shape to trace around such as layer cake pan (optional)

Make square, rectangle, triangle and circle frames out of foam sheets (I used a layer cake pan as a template for the circle.) Lay the frames on the contact paper (with backing still in place) and trace around them. Cut out the contact paper, peel the waxy backing off, and press the contact paper to the frame. Retain the waxy backing and press onto the sticky side again if you are going to transport the frames (keeps them from sticking together).

Notice the bowl of foam shapes to sort in the chair.

Comments:

The window sorting activity may have been better for younger kids. No one in my group was interested in sorting the shapes. It wasn't a complete bust, however, because after learning the technique I made the story board for the book (see above) and that was a huge hit.

Also, the clear contact paper is an awesome craft ingredient because it can cling to something and then be removed again. Will be using it again.

STEM Activity Station 2. Measuring Volume

Gather:

  • Bin
  • Filling material such as rice or beans. (I used different colored lentils) - check about allergies first.
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Geosolid shapes  (optional, but very popular)

These are geosolids (Amazon Affiliate Link).

 

No need for instructions here. Scoop up the materials, fill a shape and then transfer the filling to another shape.

Comments:

This was the most popular station by far. Saw a lot of exploring and creativity.

Next time:  Have pictures of the shapes labelled with the correct name and have the children match them. For example, have a picture of a cone and have them look for the matching cone geosolid shape. They seemed ready to learn the names.

STEM Activity Station 3:  Busy Bugs

The Environmental Education Center supplied this Busy Bug sorting and counting kit. Also comes with pattern cards.

Kids probably could have spent hours with these if they hadn't spent so much time at the measuring bin.

STEM Activity Station 4:  Feed the Squirrels- Counting

 

Gather:

  • Acorns - at least 10
  • Container for acorns (optional)
  • Squirrel counting printable
  • 4 Plastic cups
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Instructions (optional)

Adults:  print out the counting printable. Cut out the squrrels and tape each one to a cup.

Have the children count the number of acorns  indicated on the squirrel's tail into the cup.

STEM Activity Station 5:  Sorting Natural Objects

First read the comments below. Second, ask about food allergies if you decide to use nuts.

Gather:

  • Natural objects such as rocks, different kinds of pine cones, or seeds/nuts
  • Bowls or egg cartons to sort into

Because of the squirrel counting activity, I offered different kinds of nuts in shells.

Comments:

Using nuts in shells was not a good idea because the children wanted to crack them open and see what was inside. When we cracked one open, they wanted to eat the contents. It would probably have been just fine at home, but under preschool conditions it was not ideal.

Conclusion:  I'm bringing rocks to sort next time.

We also sorted colored pom poms by color.


Next time I will offer less sorting activities.

STEM Activity Station 6:  Measuring with Inchworms

(Amazon Affiliate Link)

Cut fuzzy stems (chenille) to different lengths and measure with "inchworms." (Somehow I didn't get a photograph of this station.) The children seemed to like both measuring activities.

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I also offered two types of number/counting puzzles and a sequencing activity.

This is really a quick overview. please let me know if you have any specific questions or suggestions.

 

Visit our Pinterest Board for more preschool math ideas.

For the final day of our week long STEAM festival, we are highlighting math. Sarah at Share It! Science is looking for the golden ratio in the garden. Here at Growing with Science we are going to celebrate STEM Friday by featuring some new math books and related activities.

stemfriday

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The expert team of Hilary Koll and Steve Mills have developed a unique series of math books illustrated by Vladimir Aleksic. Each feature gritty, real world applications of math with problems to solve embedded within the story. The challenges vary in difficulty and math skills needed.

In Solve a Crime (You Do the Math) Alex, an undercover police detective, shows how math can help catch a criminal. For example, on one page the reader is asked to use co-ordinates to map the evidence and then look on a grid to calculate the distance between certain items. These problems will require a pencil and piece of paper to do the work.

The graphic-style illustrations are bold and serious, adding to the true-to-life feel. Want to see how it looks? You can check out a sample of some of the pages at Google Books.

Related activities:
Math Mavens Mysteries has a Time for Crime math mystery to get students warmed up, complete with audio clips (index to all math mysteries with level of difficulty).

Age Range: 6 - 8 years
Publisher: QEB Publishing (April 1, 2015)
ISBN-10: 160992732X
ISBN-13: 978-1609927325

Fly a Jet Fighter (You Do the Math) follows pilot Katie as she handles data, interprets tables, and reads dials and scales. The goal is to create a squadron of jet fighter aces and complete the mission.

An additional activity to accompany this book might be a making a paper plane (Instructions for nine different models).

Age Range: 6 - 8 years
Publisher: QEB Publishing (April 1, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1609927311
ISBN-13: 978-1609927318

Launch a Rocket into Space (You Do the Math) follows each stage of the  space mission to make sure the rocket blasts clear of the atmosphere and returns safely. It features astronaut Michael who helps the reader compete the math exercises and learn about everything from fractions to timelines. A few problems will require a protractor to measure angles.

Once again, here's a preview from Google Books:

Each of the books has a glossary and the answers for all the questions are in the back matter.

Although recommended for ages 6-8, these books could also be useful for older children who are struggling with math concepts or don't quite see how the math they are learning might be useful.

The books in the You Do the Math series would be perfect for homeschoolers and after school math clubs because they can be entirely child-directed reading.

Age Range: 6 - 8 years
Publisher: QEB Publishing (June 1, 2015)
ISBN-10: 160992729X
ISBN-13: 978-1609927295

Related:

Making Room for Math at Science Buddies has instructions for tons of math activities.

Don't forget to visit our growing list of math books for children (from counting books to high school level) at Science Books for Kids.

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Disclosures: The books were provided by Quarto Publishing Group USA for review purposes. Also, I am an affiliate for Amazon. If you click through the linked titles or ads and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. Proceeds will be used to maintain this self-hosted blog.

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Our activity schedule is as follows:

June 22: Science
Growing with Science: Science activities for Kids
Share it! Science: Are You a Scientist?

June 23: Technology
Growing with Science: Technology for Kids
Share it! Science: Exploring Kid's Opportunities in Technology

June 24: Engineering
Growing with Science: Engineering Activities for Kids
Share it! Science: Rube Goldberg Machines- an Engineering Challenge

June 25: Art with a STEM focus
Growing with Science: Art Activities for Kids with a STEM Focus
Share it! Science: Family STEAM Night- Where Art Meets Science!

Today:  Math
Growing with Science: this post
Share It! Science: Golden Ratio in the Garden

We would love to hear your questions or suggestions for STEAM-related projects to share with others. Let's heat up the summer with STEAM!

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Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.

Share It! Science and Growing with Science are thrilled to announce we are teaming up for a week long Children's Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) Festival all next week. Please join us for information and project ideas to help you explore STEAM-related activities for the summer and beyond!

STEAM-festival-button-latest

Our STEAM activity schedule is as follows:

June 22:  Science
June 23:  Technology
June 24:  Engineering
June 25:  Art with a STEM focus
June 26:  Math

We would love to hear your questions or suggestions for STEAM-related projects to share with others. If you choose to, please leave your ideas in the comments and we'll add the links to the appropriate days.

Let's heat up the summer with STEAM!