I'd not heard of Spot It! before friends gave it to us as a hostess gift about a week ago. Since that time, it's been played and enjoyed by one of my classes as well as by a variety of groups/ages that have been around for the Thanksgiving holiday. It's the perfect size for a stocking stuffer. And would make a great classroom or family game. I recommend it as you think about your Cyber Monday gift list...
Spot It! comes with a deck of round cards in a little tin container. To play, you lay two cards on the playing surface. All players try to find the ONE symbol that matches on both cards. You will only find ONE symbol that matches on any pair of cards. Can you spot the matching symbol below? (They will always color match but they do not need to be the same size.)
The player who calls the matching symbol first wins one of the cards. The last card played is left on the table and a new card from the deck is added. Play continues as everyone tries to be the first to spot the symbol that matches.
We played the game as children arrived for one of my private classes. Kids of all ages participated in trying to find the matching symbols. At our holiday gatherings we played with ages 5-adult. Since everyone can participate, it's an excellent activity to include many ages and group sizes. Rules include 4 variations that would lend a bit of variety to game play.
Lastly, I think someone should use this as an upper-level math exploration... All week, guests have been trying to figure out how they could make a game with 55 cards in which every card has one...and only one...symbol that is identical on another card. You can pick up any two cards in the entire deck and find just one symbol that is identical on both. Explain what the parameters would have to be to make this mathematically possible.
Disclaimer: I received my game as a gift and have no affiliation with the company. If you order from Amazon, all commissions go toward foster care through Grace and Hope at no additional cost to you. THANK YOU!
I'll be highlighting some of our all-time favorite math games/manipulatives as you think about gift giving this season. This is one of our absolute favorites...a block product for older kids (5 to adult) that develops mathematical skills. It would make an excellent classroom Math Station or homeschool Workbox.
When I first wrote this post, I used it with my then 7yo. He continues to use it at age 9. My youngest started working some of the easier puzzles at age 4 and is now quite good at the beginning levels at age 5. Some of the more complex puzzles are difficult for me...so these sets really do reach all age levels.
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The Equilibrio, Architecto, and Cliko line by FoxMind rank in my top ten for math education products. I began using them a year ago with my 7yo. The products vary in complexity even within a given book and can be used with children through adults. Here's a brief overview:
Equilibrio could, I suppose, be considered the first in the "series" as the recommended age is 5 and up.
The boxed set comes with a set of 18 specialty blocks that are used to erect structures illustrated in the spiral-bound challenge book. The structures begin deceptively simple ("Oh, this is soooooo easy!") and become increasingly difficult as you progress through 60 different structures. Levels of difficulty are indicated at the bottom of the page, as are guides that tell exactly which blocks are used in the structure. My son can easily build the early structures on his own, but he needs help as the book progresses. A lot of balance is necessary for some of the more difficult buildings. [If you buy the Architecto set below, you get the blocks and need an Equilibrio: book only.]
Architecto, recommended for ages 7 & up, is slightly different, although it uses the same blocks.
This book illustrates 3-D models. At the bottom of each page you see which blocks are used, but you have to look at the 3-D model, using "fairly sophisticated logical analysis and spatial perception" in order to build it. 50 illustrations/building puzzles are included.
Finally, Cliko, the granddaddy of challenges, is recommended for 8 years and up for people who "enjoy sophisticated puzzles." [Link is just to the book and assumes you already own the blocks through one of the above sets.]
In this book you again see a photo of a structure along with a list of blocks needed to complete it. This book, however, shows certain viewpoints of the structure...and the player needs to consider all viewpoints in order to determine whether a structure is feasible or not; sometimes the structure is shown at 3 different camera angles. Tough stuff. My 7yo can do beginning levels. I'm not sure if I can do the most advanced.
Note: You need one set of blocks to complete the structures in all books. The books can be purchased separately. So if you buy one book/block set, you just need other books (without blocks) to do the other activities/puzzles. Clear as mush? :)
Disclaimer: I bought my own set--one set of blocks and all 3 books--and have no contact with the company that produces it. If you use the Amazon link to buy your own, Grace and Hope (foster care for kids in China) will make a few cents (at no cost to you.) My blog policy, however, is that I don't blog about things that I don't like. I love this.
The Math Learning Center, a nonprofit organization, has a ton of free resources on its website. I plan to do the "Teddy Bear & Box Calendar Pattern" for December. On the Kindergarten Supplement page you can download both the calendar pieces (pdf, in color) and lesson plans for FREE. (Look under "Geometry" for C4 Teddy Bear & Box and C4 December Calendar Markers.)
With these markers, students describe the location of a teddy bear relative to a box "using words such as inside, outside, behind, in front of, to the left of, to the right of, above and below." Kindergarteners will love this!! :) At school or at home!
Pictures posted with permission of The Math Learning Center.
Trying to think of a good gift for your child? A child's classroom? Chocolate Fix might just fit the bill...or fix your gift list! :) My 9yo received this for his birthday and it's been used and loved by him, his teen brother, and my husband. The 8 and up designation makes sense; I think it would be a bit difficult for younger kids.
A perfect blend of fun and logical deduction, a single player must manipulate 9 chocolate game pieces according to the clues given on puzzle cards to come up with the correct arrangement of chocolates. If you play Sudoku, you'll recognize similarities. (For more details, the ThinkFun site --click on "how to play"--features a visual sequence showing how the game is played). Forty puzzle cards are included in a little spiral-bound flip-it book and are ranked by difficulty: beginner, intermediate, advanced, and expert. The set is stored in a drawstring bag for easy traveling.
I grabbed the photo from the ThinkFun website as our game edition (last year's) didn't come with the shape and color placeholders. This is an excellent addition as it would make it much easier to keep track of what is known vs. what is unknown.
I love the problem solving inherent in the game. This would make a wonderful Math Station/"early finisher" activity for a single student at school or Math Workbox in homeschool. Look at this article on using it to teach geometry.
Over the next few days, I'll be highlighting some of our favorite math games and books. Holiday shopping begin! :)
Disclaimer: I bought my own game and have no affiliation with ThinkFun. If you order from Amazon, all commissions go toward foster care through Grace and Hope at no additional cost to you. THANK YOU!
Last month, I demonstrated how to make your own Pattern Pull. I have to report on my experiences with it since...
This year, my son is participating in a preK/K co-op. When I taught, I introduced the Pattern Pull to this group of 4 & 5-year-olds. You should have heard the squeals and excitement!!! They were ecstatic...so thrilled to guess what would come out of the sleeve next. Each time, I'd tease them by VERY. VERY. SLOWLY. pulling the pattern out. It could have been Christmas morning for the excitement they showed. If you have preK-2nd graders, this is such a great, cheap, easy math activity. When I finished with the group session, I gave the kids access to the materials during "choice time."
Around here, we still have a LOT of leaves falling. This project would make a great Thanksgiving decoration...
While studying "L is for Leaf," we read Read Leaf, Yellow Leaf. For each student I anchored a sheet of contact paper, sticky side up, to the table with a tiny piece of tape in each corner. Students then covered the contact paper with leaves. I used dried leaves although I think fresh fallen leaves would work as long as they weren't wet. Because we were studying "L is for Leaf," each student then put a cut "L" on top of their leaves. You could substitute a Thanksgiving sticker or picture if you were making Thanksgiving placemats. I then put a top layer of contact paper on the collage and trimmed the edges. We hung our projects, so I hole-punched the top and made a loop with yarn.
We also read two more books that explore how you can make pictures out of leaves, Look What I Did with a Leaf! and Leaf Man. Collages like this could also be used on contact paper for decorations or placemats.
When I saw the calendar pattern that Little Miss Kindergarten did with turkeys, I just had to try it! And then when I saw the Fancy Nancy handprint turkeys at Almost Unschoolers, I wanted to include that idea. (Both of these bloggers are brilliant!) With their great ideas and a free online lesson from The Math Learning Center, you can do this, too! Before Thanksgiving!
2. Read Setting the Turkeys Free(link below). In this adorable book, "A young boy uses his hands, paint, sequins, and everything imaginable to make beautiful turkeys in his picture. Soon his imagination takes over, and the turkeys take on a life of their own."
3. Have kids make a set of 30 fancy handprint turkeys on squares that will fit into a calendar pocket chart. (I use the large one.) If you want to have multiple access points to your pattern, use two background colors like Little Miss Kindergarten did. I used only one background color.
4. Print this free lesson plan from The Math Learning Center for a butterfly calendar: C3 Flying Butterflies. (You'll find it under "geometry.") The lesson calls for you to print butterflies calendar grid cards (also free) and have the kids explore the pattern as the butterflies point in four directions: up, to the right, down, to the left. Follow the lesson, using turkey cards instead of butterflies. To do this, you'll want to arrange the pattern for yourself first, then add dates to the cards so that the date is always in the correct location, even when the turkeys turn.
5. Do the lesson with your classroom or homeschool child. You can do it with one card at a time (if you start on Nov. 1st) or do a week or more of cards at a time if you start later in the month. We've been doing about a week at a time.
In doing this with a 5.75yo, I found it helpful to add some additional support, both to recognize the pattern and to understand direction. I tried a lot of things:
*I had the child point each direction as we reviewed each card. As we reviewed each card, we also chanted the direction aloud: "up, to the right, down, to the left...up, to the right, down, to the left."
*When the pointing seemed a little weak, I added whole body movement. We stretched to the ceiling, moved to touch a chair to the right, touched the floor, and moved to touch a chair to the left.
*When the directions/pattern still seemed a little weak, we made a pointer with our Purplinker and pointed in each direction as we chanted through the pattern.
*I made a bunch of arrow cards (see pink in photo) and had the student put the cards in each pocket to show (again!) which direction the turkey feathers were pointing.
The student started to be able to predict the pattern with some consistency around day 15. So he didn't find this pattern easy. But it's so worthwhile! Anybody else know teenagers...perhaps adults...who still don't know right from their left? ;)
Note: Behind each of our turkeys you can see the white cards peeking out which contain our daily journal entries. It works great to put the calendar pattern in front of each entry.
Have a little time on your hands? Maybe it's time to learn about TIME! Here's some fun that we've been having:
Books on Time...Here's What We've Been Reading:
Just a Minute!
Fred is confused about what a "minute" is because his family members keep saying "just a minute" but then proceed to take a VERY. LONG. TIME. Cute book.
Clocks and More Clocks
Mr. Higgins thinks that the clocks in his house don't keep correct time. He'll check a clock on one floor in his house, find it's 3:00, only to go upstairs and find that the clock there says 3:01. Since he can never catch clocks on different floors showing the same exact time, he's convinced there is something wrong. My 9yo totally caught the humor and kept shaking his head throughout the reading.
Great introduction to the concept of time. More advanced than your usual concept book, addressing everything from seconds to hours, analog and digital clocks, and years to millennia.
Hands-on with Time
Each student took a Judy Clock and moved the hour and minute hand as we talked about them. I then called out various times and had students check to see that they had the same time as their neighbor.
My students made their own foldable books about time. We made foldable books with four sections. (Sorta like this "flip flap with 4 flaps.") Each child picked four times during the day. On the top of a flap, he wrote the activity that takes place during a certain time and drew a picture. On the inside of that flap, we stamped a blank clock. Each student showed the time with a Judy Clock and then copied the Judy Clock time onto the blank clock. For example, a child wrote "get up" and illustrated the front of the flap with a picture of getting out of bed. He then showed his wake up time on a Judy Clock (6:45) and copied that information onto the stamp inside the flap. I told my students they could then quiz other people to see if they could figure out when each event took place...and then have their readers open the flap to check.
Disclaimer: If you order from Amazon, all commissions go toward foster care through Grace and Hope at no additional cost to you. THANK YOU!
When I first saw this idea posted on The Math Learning Center blog (see photo #6), I couldn't believe I'd never thought of it before. It's so simple yet so awesome...
I've always had kids journal. Always used a calendar grid pocket chart (5"x5" pockets). But never put them together. So now I'm having kids record things that happen during the day to put on our wall calendar pocket chart. We try to either write at the end of the day or write in the morning about the previous day.
At the end of the month, I'm collecting the cards, holes punched on one corner, to make into a "book of the month," gathered on a ring. It will be tremendously fun for us to look back and see what we did each month.
This does mean that my calendar patterns have to go in front of our journal squares. Either that, or I need to hang a separate calendar. This month we're using turkey handprints for our calendar pattern and they fit nicely in front of the journal squares.
My 9yo received Kanoodle for his birthday. In the past week it's been in perpetual use by both my 9 and 5yo...and occasionally by their father. Guest poster, LilDude (9), is here to tell you about this game...
Kanoodle is a game that you can play but it's like a puzzle. You put some of the pieces in (the ones they tell you to), and the rest you try and put in so they all fit in the board.You can do 2-D or 3-D pyramid puzzles.
The pieces are like little beads connected together. All of the pieces have different shapes. There are 12 pieces and you try to make them all fit on a 5-by-11 hole board. There are 100+ different puzzles to try and do. There are six levels: pro, super pro, champ, whiz, expert and genius. I think it's a good game because there is a of stuff that you can do with it.
There is an instruction manual. The case it comes in is small--a little bigger than a deck of cards--so it's easy to carry around. I'm amazed that they thought of all those puzzles.
On a scale of 1-10, I'd give this an 8 because it's fun but if you do one of the last puzzles it's really hard. I like doing the pyramid puzzles.
Mom Report: Love this! It feels like a toy but is great for visual/spatial reasoning. It would make a great Math Station at school or Workbox at home. Based on our experience, it also makes a great gift!
Disclaimer: I bought my own Kanoodle game and have no company affiliation. If you order from Amazon, all commissions go toward foster care through Grace and Hope at no additional cost to you. THANK YOU!
I've been intrigued with the concept of subitizing or "instantly seeing the quantity" ever since reading about it in a recent issues of Teaching Children Mathematics. I've started using our DIY counting rope to flash quantities in front of my 5yo. Want to join us? If you're a homeschooler, just make a counting rope and pull a small number of beads to one end. Then hold up the rope for a brief look (long enough to see the beads but not long enough to count each bead individually.) Teachers could put the counting rope under a document camera or lay game chips on an overhead for a similar experience.
Then, extend learning with this "Speedy Pictures" game. You can choose to flash a visual representation of a number using fingers, dice, rekenrek, eggs, or number discs. The flash time may be increased or decreased, according to student needs. Students get a moment or two to see the quantity--but not count one by one--before being asked to enter a total. This activity would make a great computer-based Math Station.
Square cats would have trouble cuddling in their owners' laps, because they can't curl up into a round ball! urchiken at gmail dot com
October 7, 2011 10:45 AM
I'll be in touch. Thanks so much for entering everyone! I loved reading all your square cat ideas. Thanks also to the author, Elizabeth Schoonmaker, who graciously donated the book for the giveaway and sent the new pictures of Eula to post.