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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

January...a little Science...a little Math...a LOT of FUN!

Snowflakes~Symmetry~Patterns~3 States of Matter...plus a few
We started our unit reading the book, Snowballs by Lois Ehlert. After we listed what we needed to build a snowman, I gave each group a bag of mystery items. Of course they quickly guessed what we were going to do, but the toilet paper threw them off a little...hmmmmm.

SIDE NOTE...Since it rarely snows in this part of the world I had planned that we would follow steps to "build" snowmen by decorating a friend. Who knew we would have the first white Christmas in at least 44 years, come back to school for 2 days only to miss the next week of school due to 6 - 8 inches of snow and sleet! I can't wait to get back since the kiddos have FINALLY experienced the real thing!:-)

 After the children divided into our 4 math station groups, their assignment was to first agree as a small group who would be the snowman, who would be the decorators, and discuss the steps to build the snowman. Each group quickly came to their own conclusion - only one took time to vote since 2 of the 5 children wanted to be the snowman. 

One snowman complete!
Still working....

A proud group of builders!
We then drew in our math journals each step of snowman building - first, second, next, etc.
The book, The Snowy Day is a great lead-in to a few lessons on the 3 states of matter. 
We played the game, "Melt the Ice Cube" found on the Little Giraffes website. 

He's blowing on the ice cube! :-)

After discussing the HUGE gift of a WHITE CHRISTMAS, we talked about what the flakes looked like. It's interesting to hear the children describe what they saw and compare their observations with photos of real snowflakes.
After admiring several beautiful snowflake photos from the website snowcrystals.com, we read the book, Snowflake Bentley This book tells about the farmer who invented the first camera able to take photos of actual snowflakes.
Next, I gave each child a bag containing one of each pattern block shape. It was exciting watching the children's faces as they found the blocks in the snowflakes! No one had to be encouraged to count them or pay attention - they were completely engaged!
The children came up and pointed out the pattern block shapes they saw. We reviewed symmetry and found that a snowflake can be divided in any direction and still have symmetry. FYI this is called "rotational symmetry".
Some brought their shapes to match.
How many can YOU find?!

 We watched a short movie on the same site which shows a snowflake forming. We then acted it out - pretending to be little ice crystal friends attracting more and more friends until...

We fell from the sky!

Our next step will be to build snowflakes using our pattern blocks, then recording what we build by gluing paper die-cut pattern block shapes to match. As soon as we get back to school I'll have more photos...I'm ready! I like snow, but enough is enough!


  1. Love the build a snowman activity! Too cute!! They did great, and hopefully they got to practice building a real snowman since we've had plenty of snow days!

  2. It was loads of fun. When we get back to school there are lots more activities to go with it!

  3. The build a snowman activity looked like the kids loved it! What a great idea!


  4. They did love it. I've seen it on the net several times as a party game. It was a fun way to "hook" the kids.

  5. Oh my gosh, Suzan!! I am loving the Build a Snowman activity and how you tie in forms of matter but the math you came up with for the snowflakes blows me away!! I LOVE it! You incorporate so many standards in ways that are so engaging. I am gushing...

  6. Sister - you make my head swell! These lessons are truly fun - which helps to get me out of the bed each day! I am NOT an early riser. :-)

  7. I used all 3 lessons in my class and the students absolutely loved them! It was great watching them work in groups building their "snowmen". Thanks so much!