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Teachers: Want an Educational Break During the Frenetic Weeks Before Christmas?

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For something fun, particularly directed towards grade fours and grade fives, here is Geo-math to Christmas Eve Rescue. It integrates the subject of Geometry with Social Skills and Language Arts. Specifically, it explores the formation of stars using triangles. These stars will help light the skies for Santa. First, a team of mice in Santa‘s workshop try to make a triangle with a very long stick and two far too short sticks. Cooperating, three other teams experiment using scalene, isosceles and equilateral triangles. Will they get the stars made in time?

Teachers here are my Geo-math to Christmas Eve Rescue classroom suggestions (note I’m using inches as the unit of measure):

Prep 4 bags of the designated stick length either one for each student or one for a group of four students. Often coloured crafting sticks come in various sizes at the dollar store. The measurements I have suggested are just that suggestions, be flexible and use measurements that work with what is available to you. Instead of using sticks you could cut Bristol board or card stock into the suggested lengths and use those for making the triangles.

  • Listen to the story once through with paper and pencils. Challenge the students to try and recreate the problems and types of triangles the mice teams were attempting to make. Discuss and share with the class, or in small groups, students’ interpretations.
  • Given each student, (or have them work in groups) a baggie with one long stick of 20 cm and two exceptionally short sticks less than 10 cm each. Can they make triangles? Will the short sticks meet?
  • Give each student or group, a new baggie with one long stick of 20 cm, one shorter stick of 15 cm and another 10 cm. Can they make triangles? Will the short ends meet? Why? Do they know what this type of triangle is called? Scalene
  • Give each student or group, a new baggie with one long stick of 20 cm, one shorter stick of 15 cm and another 10 cm. Can they make triangles? Will the short ends meet? Why? Do they know what this type of triangle is called? Isosceles.
  • Give each student or group, a new baggie with three sticks of 20 cm. Can they make triangles? Will the short ends meet? Why? Do they know what this type of triangle is called? Equilateral
  • Make stars out of a variety of triangular shapes. Which ones look the best? See the links below for triangle star ideas.
  • Play the story again, ask the students to identify their favourite scene. Have the students illustrate their favourite scene. Note I’d be happy to feature their drawings on my website.
  • Have your students do a dramatic recreation of the story for younger grades.
  • Have the grade 4 or grade 5 students go to a younger class and do the math experiments either 1:1 or in small groups (I could be done with reading or math buddies).

Parents if you are looking for a way to do math experimentation follow steps 1-6. It will be a way to geometrically play through inquiry.

Teachers and parents, this pre-Christmas time of year is stupendously exciting when around children AND it is exhausting. Taking a quick break by showing a story reading can give you those few minutes to revitalize. The follow-up activities, keep your children away from technology and play through inquiry with manipulatives. Also, remember art and drama are always easy tie-ins to any story reading. Enjoy the season!

Flying Fairy with a Wand