February 23, 2020

Fractions In Real Life

Fractions can be a difficult concept for some students. However, when we begin with a concrete and relatable topic for our lesson, students are given the foundation for further learning.


My absolute favorite way to teach and explore fractions is to make slime with the kids! At the end of the school year, many kids say making slime was their favorite activity of the year. Allow me to share how we make slime while learning fractions!

Prepare For The Lesson


1. Choose The Recipe.

Keep student allergies in mind, and be sure to choose a recipe with safe ingredients.
The recipe I have had success with is listed below.

2. Gather Up Materials.

For the recipe below you will need:
white school glue (one-fourth cup per student)
baking soda (a three-fourth teaspoon per student)
food coloring
contact lens solution (1.5 teaspoons per student)
plastic bowls
craft sticks for stirring
wax paper
measuring cup (one-fourth)
measuring spoons (one teaspoon, one-half teaspoon, three-fourth teaspoon)

I use 2 days to complete the slime activity.

Slime Making Day One


1. Post The Recipe.

I post this recipe on the board:

4 oz (one-half cup) white school glue
1.5 teaspoons baking soda
6 - 8 drops food coloring
3 teaspoons contact lens solution

I explain that the recipe would make enough for 2 kids, but I want each student to be able to make their own slime. "Hmmm, how can we work this out?" Some of your students are bound to come up with halving the recipe.

2. Do Some Math.

We then take the time to do the math of halving each ingredient.

Here is the recipe that we end up with:

2 oz (one-fourth cup) white school glue (We use Elmers.)
3/4 (three-fourths) teaspoon baking soda
3 - 4 drops of food coloring
1.5 (one and one half) teaspoon contact lens solution

We then go over the vocabulary word knead. Demonstrate with playdough or show a visual of dough being kneaded.

Slime Making Day 2


1. Set Up The Materials Prior To The Lesson.

It may help to measure out the glue in advance using small plastic cups. This can be done by pouring 2 ounces (one-fourth cup) of water into one cup, making a line where it stops with a sharpie, and marking the same spot on all the other cups. The lines show where to fill with glue. This way the glue can be poured up to the line without having to use a measuring cup every time.


Using a table, line up the materials like a buffet station. Students will be forming a line and taking a plastic bowl, pouring the glue, taking a popsicle (craft) stick to stir, adding baking soda, adding food coloring, and adding contact lens solution.

2. Set Expectations Rules And Give Directions.



3. Have Fun Making The Slime!



Students line up at the table forming an assembly line and follow these steps:

-Take a plastic bowl and the pre-measured one-fourth cup of glue.
-Pour the glue into the bowl. Discard the empty cup.
-Add 3/4 (three-fourths) teaspoon baking soda to the glue and stir with a craft stick.
-Add 3 - 4 drops of food coloring and stir again
-Add 1.5 (one and one-half) teaspoon contact lens solution. Stir until slime forms.
(Additional contact lens solution can be added a drop at a time if consistency is too sticky.)
-Knead on wax paper.
-Play with slime!
-Store in plastic Easter Eggs or container of choice.

Give students time to reflect on the lesson. Remind students to follow the rules of their parents/guardians for playing with slime at home and to keep it away from babies, small children, and pets!


*Note: students often ask for a copy of the slime recipe!

Extend your study of fractions with this fun printable fraction activity to reinforce multiplying fractions by whole numbers.

 multiplying-fractions



What creative ways have you taught fractions in your class? Feel free to share in the comments below!





February 10, 2020

5 Easy to Implement Presidents' Day Activities

Presidents' Day is approaching right around the same time as Valentine's Day. For some of us, Presidents' Day may be close to 100 Day as well. So much to fit in!


If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed with all these special days falling around the same time, check out a few quick ways to integrate Presidents' Day into your lessons.

1. Have students write letters to the current president. 


You may even get a response! I have had success with getting a response by placing all student letters in one large envelope and sending them off together to:

President (Trump)
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC  20500

I include a cover letter from me with the school's return address. The kids have enjoyed receiving a letter back and sometimes even a photo from the president!

This friendly letter resource may help your students with their letters to the president. I have used this resource multiple times throughout the school year to write to various people.

 friendly-letter-writing


2. Make coin rubbings.

You could discuss the names of the presidents on each coin along with the buildings, words, numbers, and symbols. Have students look at newer and older coins still in circulation to gain familiarity. Allow students time to make coin rubbings by placing coins under thin paper and coloring over the coins.

Want to integrate a little math with the coin rubbings? Try this resource where students make coin rubbings, exchange papers, and count the coins. Many kids could use some extra practice with counting money!

 presidents-day-worksheet

3. Read literature about the Presidents. 

My students have liked So You Want To Be President by Judith St. George and David Small. It looks to be updated to include presidents through Barack Obama. You can check your local library for a copy.

4. Take a virtual tour of Mt. Rushmore. 

Here is the link to a virtual tour of Mt. Rushmore from the National Park Service:
Mt. Rushmore Virtual Tour Link

There is also a webcam on the site that you can access once construction is done.

Other websites your kids may find interesting:
Washington Monument
Lincoln Memorial
The White House

5. Make a President's Day Craft with writing. 

 presidents-day-activity


Now you can fit in Presidents' Day along with everything else! Do you have any quick and easy suggestions for Presidents' Day? Feel free to leave a comment about an idea that has worked out in your classroom!