Thursday, February 26, 2015

Preschool Science: Shapes

For this Preschool Lab, we tackled shapes. It's not exactly science, but it's definitely early math, so I figure that falls firmly into STEAM.

First we talked about different shapes. I cut two of the same shapes out of felt and I handed out the partners to the kids. I started with "I'm thinking of a shape that has three sides and three points..." and then I would pull out my shape and ask who had a shape like that. The kids were happy to bring their piece up to the flannel board.

The Stations:

1 - Foam Shapes

I remember loving these wooden shapes as a kid - you know, the ones that had the squares and the triangles and the hexagons and you could make stuff out of them. I thought they would make a great station. I was not wrong.

I didn't have the wooden shapes, though, and while I could probably have bought them, I was finishing the planning for this program the day before it happened (what? you've never done that?) so it was too late to order them. Also: money. So I took home some foam sheets and spent the evening cutting out my own shapes. Worth it.

The figure templates, by the way, which I printed out and laminated, were found here.

2 - Shape Matching

My predecessor left a whole bunch of small laminated clip art images for me when she left. I'm not sure what she used them for, but they were definitely useful for this program. I put magnets on the back and put them on our magnet board. At the top of the magnet board, I put some shape samples (you can see the square, circle, etc. up at the top). I asked the children to match the picture to a shape. I very clearly stated that there weren't necessarily wrong answers and I encouraged them to explain why they put that picture with that shape.  A pizza could be a circle, for example, or a pizza slice could be a triangle. I love how this encouraged dialogue.

3 - Rubber Band Boards

This is what I was making when I should have been buying foam shapes! (HA!) I had an old board in my basement and I asked my husband to cut it into square-ish shapes. He was kind enough to do so and then I spent an hour hammering nails into the board in a nice square pattern. (I also put duct tape over the rough edges, which made them less annoying to handle and much more beautifuller). The kids were then given rubber bands with which to create shapes. Just hook the rubber band over the nails. This one was a lot of fun.

4 - Shape Printing 

I had a sturdy box of Ritz crackers, which I cut into strips, folded those strips into various shapes, and taped them so they would hold their form. These were for print painting. 

The kids really got in to this one. 

I also had a display of books about shapes, which sadly did not really check out. But the program was fun, so that's something.

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