Thursday, January 22, 2015

Straw Shapes

Recently my daughter Bee has been getting confused with differentiating squares and rectangles. I was wondering how I could help her with this and after drinking with a straw an idea came to me. Why not make squares and rectangles with straws! 

This activity not only promoted Bee to think of the structure of the shapes, but developed her physical skills as she tried to fit one straw into the other.

Who can play?
Children aged 3 years plus. All activities depend on the child's age and stage of development. 

What do you need?
1. Straws
2. Area to lay out the straw shapes
3. Ruler

What did we do?

Firstly, we talked about what makes a square (4 sides that are equal) and looked around our home at objects that had a square shape. We then looked at objects that were rectangular and compared the similarities and then differences. We talked about the 4 sides of a square and them being equal. Next we discussed how a rectangle also has 4 sides, however two are long and two are short. 

The next thing was to explore the straws and make our square shapes. We measured the straws with a ruler, to encourage maths skills and check all straws were the sane length. We talked about if the straws were smaller we could still make a square, as long as they were all equal in size. 

Once Bee was confident in making squares. We went onto rectangle shapes. Bee developed her problem solving skills when I asked her how could we make two long sides. After a while she came up with the idea of putting two straws together. This was achieved by pinching the end of one straw and slotting it through the end of another. 

This led to an extension activity of experimenting with the straws to make other shapes. 

What did we learn? 
Physical Development: Fine manipulative skills when picking up straws, placing them on the shape and pinching the end to fit into another. 
Mathematical Development:  Counting straws, measuring and using maths language such as short and long. Developing understanding of shapes. 
Expressive arts and design: Creating and designing shapes. Using tools for a purpose. 
Personal, social and emotional: fun and enjoyment. Pride from finished product. Working together to solve a problem. 
Communication and language: Discussing what they are doing and how they can make the shapes. Describing the shapes. Following instructions. 
Literacy: Developing fine manipulative skills that are needed when learning how to write. 
Creative designing and making
Talking about shapes in their environment.

Next steps:
1. Experiment making other shapes with the straws and how to connect them. You could always attach them together with cello tape. 
2. Talk about adding more straws to make shapes bigger.
3. Create shape sticky pictures with glue and straws. 
4. Go for a shape investigation walk in your local environment or in the home.

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