Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Kindergarten Mapping Unit

What young kiddo doesn't love a good treasure map, right? Well, I decided to spend a couple of weeks touching on mapping skills. J loved it, as she loves to follow and make maps anyway. This was right up her alley.

First thing you'll need is a few good books-
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One of the first activities we did was to make a 'block city'. We made a city of blocks, using different shape blocks for different buildings. I also told J to make sure she included room for 'roads' in her city.

After getting everything set up, I had J lay as flat as she could on the ground on her belly, looking towards her 'city'. I asked her questions about seeing which roads to take get to certain buildings, etc. Letting her realize it was hard to see things from this angle.

This was the view laying down.

Then I had her stand up in a chair and look down on her 'city'. Asking her if it was easier to see which way she would need to go. Then explained that this is the view that a map uses, because it's easier to see everything.
View from the top.

Our next activity was to make our very own map. Beforehand, I had cut houses, roads, buildings, etc out of construction paper and had them ready to use. For older children, they could make all their own buildings. I laid out a large piece of brown packing paper and told J to 'have at it'.

This is her finished project. She did a great job and loved doing it! She assigned houses to all her friends and then used Matchbox cars to drive around town.

On the last day of our mapping unit, we, of course, ended it with a Treasure Map Hunt! I made up a map of the house and things around the house. I put 4 different envelopes in 4 different places. Each envelope contained a 'puzzle' piece. Then mark each location of the envelopes on the treasure map.


I handed J the map and told her to get going! She did extremely well following the directions and located each envelope quickly.

I guess I didn't get a picture of her finding the 4th envelope but she did ;)

Once she had collected each envelope, she then had to put together the puzzle.

Both kiddos got to enjoy the reward!

We had a great time with this easy mapping unit!! I hope others will too!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Kindergarten Science- Ramps

The last topic in our motion/movement science series is RAMPS. This is a fun topic to teach because most children already make and use ramps all the time, they just don't realize the 'science' behind it.

Here are a few books you can use when talking about ramps-

The activity we did first was to test how the height of ramps effects the distance something rolls. We set up our first ramp about 3-4 inches high.
J put her car at the top of the ramp and let it go. We let it roll down the hallway until it stopped. I took a dry erase marker and marked where it stopped. Then we lifted the ramp up to about 10 inches. I put a plastic box under the ramp to lift it up.
J put the car back on top and let it roll again. When it stopped, I placed another mark where it had stopped. We compared the distances and came to the conclusion that a steeper ramp caused the car to roll farther.

The next activity we did was to show how ramps can make work easier. I loaded a grocery bag with cans and told J to try to carry the bag up the ladder into the play house.
She really struggled with this and was not able to get the bag to the top of the ladder. Then, I tied a string to the bag and told her to climb into the play house (without the bag). I then handed her the string and let her pull the bag of cans into the play house by using the ramp, aka- the slide.
This was MUCH easier she said. We also looked at a few pictures of the Egyptians using ramps when building the pyramids to move the huge stones. Conclusion- ramps make make it easier to move heavy objects.

These are fun, simple ways to demonstrate the use and benefits of ramps. They could also be used when talking about simple machines. ENJOY!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Brown Bear, Brown Bear & The Very Busy Spider


For our arts and crafts this week, we centered them around a couple of Eric Carle books. We chose 'Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?' and 'The Very Busy Spider'. We own and have read these books time and time again. My children love to hear them. The crafts we went with were very simple and easy to do (with very little set up).

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
For this first craft, we were trying to make a bear that looked like the one from the book. I had J paint a piece of white card stock completely brown. I liked the fact that you could still see the brush marks, as this is how the pictures are from the book. Then, I made a simple bear template (free hand) and cut it out. We glued it onto construction paper and TA-DA!! A bear that does a very good job of mimicking the one from the book.

The next craft we did for this book was a simple paper plate bear. Easy peasy! Paint a paper plate brown, add a couple of ears, and draw on a face.

The Very Busy Spider
We only did one craft with this book. And it, like the others, was very easy. I had J draw a spider web on her piece of black construction paper with a pencil. I drew little E's. Then we took glue and traced our web. And here's comes the messy part- cover it with glitter. Yes, I vacuumed up glitter for days, especially from the 2 year old. But they turned out cute and the kids loved their sparkly webs!


Monday, August 26, 2013

Kindergarten Science- Friction

Friction is next on our list of kindergarten science topics (relating to motion/movement) to study. Friction works against movement. We talked about how sometimes we want friction and sometimes we don't. And different ways we can add friction or lessen it. Here are the books we chose to help us cover this topic.


Once we went through the books, we wanted to do a couple of experiments.

The first one we attempted was to discover how different substances can add friction or lessen it. For this activity you will need:
- a marble
- an ice cube
-baby powder
- baby oil
-and a paper towel

I did the activity on a cookie sheet, but it could easily be done on a counter top or floor. Now, back to the experiment. Having the child use their thumb and pointer finger, have them pick up the marble. Now the ice cube. Which was easiest? This time, have them dip their fingers in baby powder (making sure to get a good coat on their fingers). Pick up the objects again (at this point, I discovered it would work MUCH better to make sure your ice cube is fresh, not slightly melted and wet). Was it easier this time or not? Use the paper towel to clean fingers. Now, dip fingers in baby oil. Pick up the objects again. Easier or harder?

I have J record all her findings in her science journal. She draws a picture of what we did/what happened, and I have her tell me a simple sentence explaining the results. Here's her entry from this experiment-


For our next experiment involving force, you will need
-a small empty box
-a rubber band
-pencils (maybe 8-10)
Attach the rubber band to the short side of the box. I poked a small hole in the side, slipped the rubber band through and put a paper clip on the inside of the box to keep the rubber band from coming back through. The rubber band basically works as the handle.

Have your child pull the empty box (using the rubber band). Notice it pulls easily. Now load your box with rocks (it is NOT a problem at our house to find rocks, J is a rock 'collector' so we always have an abundance...lol!). Pull again. Does it move as easily as before?

Line your pencils on the floor about an inch apart. Place the box on top of them. Pull again. How does this affect the way the box moves?

The difference is caused by the rollers (pencils) that are reducing the friction between the box and the rug. This experiment could also be used to help explain rollers as a simple machines.

Here is J's entry in her journal from this activity-

Hope you've enjoy this kindergarten science topic!!
Next up in this series, RAMPS!