Teaching Kids About Shapes

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When teaching children about shapes, they need to do various activities to learn the differences between the shapes.  Some students may need much repetition, and some may learn them quickly.  Adjust the activities according to the student.  Here are some activities:

  • Compare the shapes to objects: “A circle is round like a ball.”  “A square is like a window (square shaped).”  “A rectangle is like a door.”   “A triangle is shaped like pizza or an ice cream cone.”
  • Have actual shapes for the student to feel. For teaching about a circle, you could use lids, tops to bottles, a ball, a plastic cup (the top and bottom), and any objects you see that have a circle in them.  In the picture below, you will even see a round, Spider-Man wipe-off board.   For teaching about a square, you could use a square box, a square book, a square cake pan, etc.  Count the four sides on all the squares.  For teaching about a rectangle, you could use a rectangular shaped box or book, an oblong cake pan, a Kleenex box, a notebook, etc.  Count the four sides on all the rectangles, two longs sides and two short sides.  For teaching about a triangle, you could use an ice cream cone, a piece of pizza (or a picture of one slice of pizza), a party hat, etc.  Count the three sides on all the triangles.
  • Use simple workbooks like the ones pictured above that have stickers and/or activities.  Count the sides on the squares, rectangles, and triangles when working with them.
  • Having students trace the shapes is an excellent activity.
  • Have students cut out the shapes. You can draw large shapes for the students to cut out first and then later progress to smaller and smaller shapes.

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Teaching Science to ESL & First Grade Students: COMPARING & GROUPING OBJECTS (Same & Different)

Following the lesson on The Five Senses, students can compare and group objects.   Here are some activities:

  • Make sure students understand “same” and “different.” Have two objects that are exactly the same and one that is different (such as two math books and an English book, or two identical balls and one that is different, etc.)  Show the two objects that are the same and talk about how they are alike.  Then show two objects that are different and talk about the ways they are different.
  • Show two flowers that are not completely alike and talk about the ways they are the same (both are pretty, both smell good, both have stems, both have leaves, etc.) and ways they are different (one is shorter, they are different colors, etc.)  Talk about how we use our senses of look, smell, and touch when we’re comparing the flowers.
  • Explain to students there are different ways to compare things. Have a group of objects such as shells that the students can practice comparing and putting into groups such as big shells/little shells and then white shells/colored shells.  Other objects that you could use to compare and group would be different sizes and colors of seeds, various rocks, or different sizes and colors of marbles.
  • Have students compare their pencils.  Remind students there are different ways to compare things.  Have students with pencils longer than six inches line up on one side of the room.  Have students with pencils shorter than six inches line up on the other side.  Another comparison would be to have yellow pencils on one side and colored pencils on the other side.  Or pencils with erasers on one side and those without erasers on the other.

Children’s Books to Teach the Color Orange

Here is a good selection of kids’ books that can be used to teach the color orange:

  • An Orange for a Bellybutton by Haruo Fukami
  • An Orange in January by Dianna Hutts Aston
  • Autumn Orange by Christianne C. Jones
  • Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman
  • Each Orange Has 8 Slices by Paul Giganti  (Reprint)
  • Mystery of the Flying Orange Pumpkin by Steven Kellogg
  • Orange by Nancy Harris
  • Orange Juice by Betsey Chessen and Pamela Chanko
  • Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett
  • Orange:  Seeing Orange All Around Us by Sarah L. Schuette and Elena Bodrova
  • Oranges by Inez Snyder
  • Oranges to Orange Juice ( How Things Are Made) by Inez Snyder
  • Otto’s Orange Day by Frank Cammuso Jay Lynch
  • Star in My Orange: Looking for Nature’s Shapes by Dana Meachen Rau
  • The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Manus Pinkwater
  • What Columbus Found:  It Was Orange, It Was Round by Jane Kurtz
  • Why is an Orange Called an Orange? by Cobi Ladner