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Snag a Spoon! A Math Game

September 3, 2016

What You Need:

  • White paper
  • Marker
  • Spoons

What You Do:

  1. With your fifth grader, cut sheets of white paper into 52 playing cards. Divide the cards into 13 sets of 4.
  2. For each of the 13 sets, choose a decimal, such as .25, and write it on one of the cards. On the rest of the cards in the set, write equivalent percents or fractions. For example, one set of cards would be: .25, 25%, 25/100, 25%.
  3. As you are making the game, explain decimal and fraction equivalents by applying them to money and referring to place value, an important component in understanding decimals. For example, explain that $ .25 = 25 cents. 25 cents = 25 pennies. There are 100 pennies in a dollar. Therefore, $ .25 (25 cents) = 25/100. Next, explain decimal and percent equivalents. For example, remind your child that .25 = 25/100. 25/100 means “25 per 100”. “Cent” means 100 (in Latin) 25/100 = 25 percent or 25%
  4. Once the playing cards are complete, shuffle and gather a few more players. In the middle of the table, place one less spoon than the number of players. For example, if there are 5 players, use 4 spoons. Deal 4 cards to each player and explain the rules.
  5. The object is to get “4 equivalents of a kind”, for example .30, 30/100, 30%, .30. The dealer will begin by taking the top card from the deck. She will look at it and decide if she wants to keep it or pass it. If she keeps it, she must discard one of her cards and pass it face-down to the next player. If she doesn’t want it, she simply passes the card face-down to the next player.
  6. Play continues in a circle until one player gets “4 equivalents of a kind”. That player grabs a spoon – trying to do so secretly. As soon as another player notices someone has grabbed a spoon, he should grab one, too! Suddenly, everyone will be grabbing for a spoon! The player who does not get a spoon is out. Remove one and continue playing until there are no spoons left – whoever gets the last one is the champion!

Bread Mold Experiment

September 3, 2016

What You Need:

  • 3 pieces of bread
  • 3 resealable plastic bags
  • Permanent marker
  • Water

What You Do:

  1. Put bread in all three bags.
  2. Take one bag and put it in a dark place. Place the next bag in the refrigerator. Place the last bag in a sunny area. Make sure each bag is sealed tightly. Label them with a marker.
  3. While you wait for the results, work with your child to develop a hypothesis as to what will happen to each bag of bread. Think about where mold grows naturally. What conditions does your child think are conducive to mold growth in nature?
  4. Check each bag daily to record any changes you see, and compare the results with your child’s hypothesis.

Play the Fish for Numbers Game!

September 2, 2016

What You Need:

  • Construction paper in various colors
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch
  • Magnet
  • Paper clips
  • Dowel or Tinker Toy to form the handle of the fishing pole
  • String to form the fishing line
  • Super glue

What You Do:

  1. Cut ten fish shapes, each about 6-inches long, out of the different colors of construction paper.
  2. Write a different number from 1 to 10 on each fish.
  3. Punch a hole in each one near the mouth area. Slide a paper clip through each hole to attach.
  4. Tie the string to the dowel to make a fishing rod.
  5. Use the super glue to adhere the magnet to the end of the string. Let it dry thoroughly.
  6. To play: Scatter the fish so that the numbers are clearly visible. Tell your child, “I’m hungry for a number 4 fish!” and watch him hunt for it, then carefully lower the “rod” until the magnet catches the paper clip and he reels it in. Repeat with other numbers until all the fish are caught for a game that’s so fun, it doesn’t even feel like math practice!

Candle Burning Experiment

September 1, 2016

What You Need:

  • Tea candle
  • 4 glass jars in different sizes (make sure they’re large enough to fit over the tea candle)
  • Matches
  • Permanent marker
  • Pen or pencil
  • Paper
  • Stopwatch

What You Do:

  1. Begin by explaining to your child that fire needs oxygen from the air in order to burn. Ask her what she thinks will happen if you limit a candle’s oxygen supply.
  2. Light the candle and place one of your jars over it. Watch and wait until it goes out. Was this what she expected to happen? What does she think will happen if you place a larger jar over the candle? How about a smaller jar?
  3. Put the jars in a row from smallest to largest, and help your child write the numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4 on the sides in permanent marker.
  4. Ask her to estimate how long it will take for the candle to go out as you place each jar over it. Make a table like the one below to record her estimates.
 
Time Estimate
Actual Time
1
 
 
2
 
 
3
 
 
4
 
 
  1. Light the tea candle, and place the first jar over it. As you do so, have your child start the stopwatch. How long does it take for the candle to go out? Record the actual time next to her estimate.
  2. Repeat step four with the three remaining jars.
  3. Compare your child’s estimate to the actual length of time each candle burned. Did she predict that the candle would burn longer under larger jars? If not, point the pattern out and explain that the more air inside the jar, the longer the candle is likely to burn.

Face-Off! An Integer Card Game

August 31, 2016

What You Need:

  • 50 flashcards
  • Pen

What You Do:

  1. Write an integer on each flashcard from -20 to 20.
  2. Divide the flashcards in half and give one pile to each player. Place the cards face down in front of each person on a table.
  3. To start, each player will pick up and flip over the top two cards so the number is showing and place it on the table.
  4. Each player should add the numbers on their two cards together. For example, if player 1 gets a 7 and a 3, the total would be 10.
  5. Compare the totals. The player whose total is greater keeps all 4 cards.
  6. Keep going until all the cards have been used. The player who has the highest number of cards is the winner.

Making Shapes Activity

August 30, 2016

What You Need:

  • At least 20 craft sticks (make sure you have an even number and maybe even some extras in case of mistakes)
  • Markers in assorted colors

What You Do:

  1. Place two craft sticks directly next to each other.
  2. Help your child draw a shape on the two sticks. Try to split the shape equally between the sticks.
  3. Repeat step 2 until your kid has created as many shape stick pairs as she wants.
  4. Have her mix up the sticks.
  5. Encourage your child match the sticks to create shapes.

A Card Game to Practice Place Value

August 29, 2016

What You Need:

  • Deck of cards
  • Paper
  • Pencil

What You Do:

  1. Give each player paper and a pencil. Each player should draw five blank lines on his piece of paper, representing each of the values up to the ten thousands place.
  2. If your child isn’t quite comfortable yet with numbers of this size, you can start off with numbers up to the thousands place (four blank lines instead of five) and gradually work your way up.
  3. Assuming you’d like to start with values up to the ten thousands place, though, here’s how it would look:

PLAYER 1  ___  ___  ___  ___  ___ 

PLAYER 2  ___  ___  ___  ___  ___

  1. Spend a few minutes sorting through the deck of cards. Remove any face cards and jokers. Using only the number cards and aces (which in this game, count as ones), shuffle the deck and turn all the cards face down in a pile. Take turns drawing cards from the pile. Each time a player gets a new number, she should write it in one of her digit positions. The goal is to make the five-digit number as big as possible. 
  2. Continue drawing cards until all five place values have been filled in. Then, have each player read her number aloud. The winner of the game is the player who creates the largest number.
  3. After your child has reached a point of comfort and confidence, discuss game strategy. What place value position is the most critical in creating the largest (or smallest) number? Which are the best numbers to record in the ten thousands place? In the ones place?

Make Paper Plate Tambourines Activity

August 27, 2016

What You Need:

  • 2 paper plates
  • A handful of dried beans
  • A stapler
  • Magic markers, stickers, glitter glue, etc

What You Do:

  1. Set one paper plate on the table and have your child drop a good handful of beans on it.
  2. Top with the other plate, face side down, and staple the edges of the plates together. Make sure the staples are close enough together that no beans can escape!
  3. When the tambourine is fully constructed, hand your child the art supplies and let him go crazy with the decorations! Stickers, finger paint, even feathers and ribbons will give this quick craft a touch of flair to last through many musical numbers!

Play the Bag Game: Learn Parts of Speech

August 26, 2016

What You Need:

  • 25 Flashcards
  • Pencil
  • 8 small brown paper bags

What You Do:

  1. Review 8 common parts of speech with your kids.
    • Noun: Often described as a person, place or thing. For example: dog, flower, girl, boy, mountain, rock.
    • Verb: an action or a state of being. Examples: run, swim, jump, think, laugh, cry.
    • Adjective: a word that modifies a noun. It will describe a person, place or thing. Examples: small, heavy, red, orange, smart, kind, loyal, angry.
    • Adverb: modifies a verb. Sometimes they end in the letters “ly.” It can also refer to where or when something happened. Examples: quickly, forcefully, steadily, often, rarely.
    • Pronoun: represents a noun. Examples: he, she, her, him, it, they, them.
    • Preposition: describes information about phrases in a sentence, such as how words relate to each other. Examples: across, above, in, from, underneath, onto, on, behind.
    • Conjunction: connects two phrases together. If the phrases are independent, they should be separated by a comma after the conjunction. Examples: and, but, yet, so, or.
    • Interjection: used to express emotion or excitement. and they are usually followed by exclamation marks. Examples: Gosh, Phew, Wow, Yikes, Aha.
  2. Write the name of one of the 8 parts of speech on every paper bag.
  3. Have your kids write down 25 different words, one on each flashcard. Encourage them to think of a variety of words.
  4. Help your kids identify the part of speech belonging to each word and placing it in its corresponding paper bag.
  5. Choose one word from each paper bag, and ask your kids to use the words to form a sentence. They will receive one point for each word they used correctly in the sentence.
  6. Play until you have used up all of the flashcards. Count up the points that each player has received to determine the winner. If the verb needs to be conjugated to make a sentence work, or you need to include articles like “the”, help your kids incorporate them into the sentences. You can start with simpler sentences only containing a noun and verb if you want to work up to the longer sentences.
  7. When you have used all the flashcards, place them back into the correct bag and then play again.

Foil Painting Activity

August 25, 2016

What You Need:

  • Aluminum Foil
  • Cardboard 8.5" x 11"
  • Tempera Paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Tape
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Measuring Cup
  • Disposable paper cups
  • Teaspoon

What You Do:

  1. Help wrap the front surface of the cardboard with aluminum foil, wrapping and taping it on the backside.
  2. Set out one cup for each color that your child wants to use.
  3. Help her measure and pour 1/2 cup of tempera paint into each paper cup.
  4. Show her how to measure out a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid into a spoon. Encourage her to put one teaspoon of dishwashing liquid into each paint cup.
  5. Stir each cup of paint thoroughly. The dishwashing liquid will help the paint adhere to the foil.
  6. Now she can paint whatever picture she likes onto the foil surface.
  7. Allow the painting to dry completely, then hang it somewhere that everyone can enjoy it!





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