Shapes & Sticks

For the month of October our focus with our calendar was shapes. We worked on identifying circles, triangles, rectangles and squares. We also introduced 3D shapes. This week when we went into the woods, I thought about ways I could bring our learning about shapes outdoors with us. I started to think about the interest of my students and access to natural materials outside and it was easy: sticks!

Kindergarten LOVES sticks. I had my students collect 5-10 sticks each, while following our stick rule (No carrying sticks longer then your arm without a buddy!) The students happily collected their sticks and then we gathered in the outdoor classroom. 

I took the sticks I had collected and began to create a shape around me with the sticks. I asked the students “What do you notice?” 

“A triangle!”

“It’s a big triangle!”

I asked one of my students “How do you know it’s a triangle?

“Because it has 3 sides. 1 – 2 – 3!”

At this point, my students were eagerly awaiting to utilize their sticks. I was hesitant to let them explore without more direction, but I decided to let them go and show me what they know about creating shapes in a more open-ended environment. These are the results!

These are a few of the shapes that were made by the students: a triangle, square and what one student called a “prism.” We also attempted a hexagon, a cube and more triangles (those seem to be a favorite). This lesson transformed the students’ thinking into using materials around them to show their learning in a way that is meaningful to them.

Megan Lewia, Meroby Elementary School, Kindergarten

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