Ideas From the Field...
(posted October 2012)
Title: Where’s the Triangle?
Author: Carol Idol, Pre-K Specialist, Knox County Schools, Knoxville, Tennessee
Materials for each child and teacher:
Cardboard tube (I used the ones that children had painted earlier in the art area)
Photographs of shapes in the environment (e.g., a pyramid from Egypt, a train boxcar, a sail boat) from old magazines and books, mounted on poster board and laminated
Children use “telescopes” to find shapes in their learning environment and then count the number of shapes they found.
Originating idea: HighScope’s Numbers Plus has a shape hunt activity, but I wanted to do mine a little differently. The students in my class enjoy using cardboard tubes and like to paint them in the art area. I thought we could use their painted tubes as telescopes to help us locate shapes in the environment.
Key developmental indicators (KDIs):
32. Mathematics — Counting: Children count things.
34. Mathematics — Shapes: Children identify, name, and describe shapes.
39. Mathematics — Data analysis: Children use information about quantity to draw conclusions, make decisions, and solve problems.
Beginning (how you introduce the activity):
Show the children the pictures of shapes in the environment. Talk with the children about the types of shapes they see in the pictures.
Say something like “Today we are going on a shape hunt and will use our telescopes to help us find them.” Give each child a “telescope,” and say “I wonder what shapes you’ll find.”
Middle (how you support and extend each child’s learning):
Observe how the children are using the telescopes and photos, and listen to what they are saying.
Comment on what the children are seeing and saying. For example, you might say, “Miguel used his telescope and found a rectangle in the block area.” Be sure to acknowledge when children identify shapes other than the shapes in the pictures.
Refer children back to the photos if they are having trouble finding shapes, and help them label the shapes they find.
Offer children paper and pencil if they want to keep count of the shapes they find.
End (how you end the activity and transition to the next part of the routine):
Tell the children they have two minutes to continue to look for shapes.
Ask the children to return to the small-group table. With the children, make a chart of the different shapes they found, and use tally marks to note how many they found of each. Ask, “Which shape did we find the most of? The fewest?”
Have the children put their telescopes in their cubbies to take home before they move to the next part of the daily routine.
Ideas for follow-up or related activities:
When parents pick up their children, encourage them to do a shape hunt at home with the telescopes.
Repeat this activity with letters (i.e., have the children hunt for letters in the classroom).
Do you have a great idea for large or small groups?
If so, we want to hear about it! We would like to offer you the chance to share your favorite large- or small-group-time plan with your HighScope colleagues. If chosen, your idea will be posted on the HighScope website. You’ll be sure to hear “Wow, why didn’t I think of that?” from your colleagues. You will also receive a $15 gift certificate to HighScope's online store.
For a large-group-time form, click here; for a small-group-time form, click here. Complete the form, and then submit it via e-mail. You can also print out the form, complete it, and fax it (734.485.5210) or mail it (send it to Marcella Fecteau Weiner, HighScope Educational Research Foundation, 600 North River Street, Ypsilanti, MI 48198-2898).