Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Math with Caps and Egg Cartons

Game #1:

Have you ever looked at the caps of hairspray bottles and laundry detergent and wondered what you could do with these bright, colorful, nondecomposable items? Well, I have, too. I hated throwing away things that seemed like they had educational potential. So, I stored them all year long until finally, a few weeks ago, I had a lightbulb moment.

Using the top of a cardboard filing box, I squeezed in as many caps as possible. Big ones, small ones.

Since we were practicing equivalent fractions, decimals, and percents, I wrote percentage problems involving money on Avery stickers on the outside of each cap (I think it would have been better on the inside.). Then I place some clear tape on top to protect the label. On the bottom of the cap I wrote the answer.

Now we're ready to play! Using any kind of small plastic balls (the ones I used were for storing Squinkies that I bought for my Squinkie graphing game), students toss one and try to land it in one of the caps. If they do, they solve the problem. My students used individual white boards to work it out. Then they checked their answer on the bottom of the caps. If they were correct, they earned the money that went with the answer. If they were wrong, they earned no money at all, and it's the next players turn.

The kids really enjoyed this game.

Game #2:

I had to make a big wedding cake that involved more than 30 eggs, so I bought one of those large egg carton trays. As I began cracking the eggs one by one until the carton was empty, I knew that there was another tossing game to be had with this item. So, I got two Sharpie fine point markers - one red and one brown (couldn't find black). In one corner I wrote a number in red. The red number serves as the answer. Then in the other three corners I wrote three numbers that I knew would achieve the red answer number if the correct operations were used.

So, on to how to play. I found ping pong balls work great. They actually drop in perfectly without bouncing all over the place. Students take turns tossing a ball in one of the holes on the carton. Another student has a timer and begins timing the person who is playing. That player has to create a problem using any of the operations that will give them the red answer number. If they do that within 30 seconds, they earn a point. If they don't, they don't earn any points, and it's the next player's turn.

It was actually very tricky getting all the numbers to work out correctly, and one student did point out an error to me today. So, I think I will color those four corners black and it will be a "Lose Turn" hole.

Also, the four corners of this carton were very thin, so it was hard to use any number but one. However, none of my students seemed to have a problem with reading my pitiful handwriting.

So, here's some ways to reuse and recycle during this Earth Day season. And honestly, as long as we have this Earth, it is always Earth Day season, so let's keep doing all we can as teachers to reuse materials and help preserve Mother Earth for the future of the precious little ones that we teach.

Happy Recycling!

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