During the week leading up to Spring Break, one of the 4th grade classes I regularly work with was doing a "Camp Read-A-Lot" learning experience for students. She had lots of fun activities to celebrate Reading Month in an engaging way that centered around camping and being outdoors. She previously had worked as a camp counselor and so at the end of her Camp Read-A-Lot she likes to incorporate some fun camp-type activities to give students depth to their camp learning experience. She had previously created God's Eye weaving craft with her students, but wanted to incorporate some some options this year and asked if I wanted to help and share any camp-type craft. You bet!
Recently a donation had been made to one of our schools and someone passed along some yarn to me as I do a lot of STEAM activities with students. I hadn't found a use for it yet, but knew it would just be a matter of time - and this was the time! The teacher mentioned something about friendship bracelets and knitting, but we knew we wouldn't have a ton of time for them to work on them. I thought finger knitting would be a fun and easy for the students to be successful and learn some basic knitting skills. I found the video below with an easy to follow tutorial for finger knitting snakes and thought it was the perfect knitting project to appeal to all students. The only thing I did differently was I had them do 2-finger knitting for the length of the snake. If we had more time to practice, I would have had them try increasing the stitches for the head, but it worked great even with the 2-finger knit. And they were able to successfully complete their snakes (with tongues and eyes!) in the short time we had for camp crafts.
While I was working on the finger knitting on one side of the room, the classroom teacher was on the other side with a different group creating the God's eyes. I have seen these before and wish I had been able to see the students working on them. To make things go a little smoother for our allotted time frame, the teacher hot-glued the popsicle sticks in a cross shape and then took a piece of yarn and hot glued one end to the back of the cross. This way students could easily (and safely) get started with weaving their projects. They had a blast and created so many neat ones!
I wish I had a chance to take more pictures as the students were working on their crafts, but I was pretty busy with the groups doing the finger knitting. It was great though because once one student got the hang of it, they started helping one another. It was so awesome to watch them learn something new and challenging in a short period of time and then be able to help others problem solve. Our students are the best!
The fourth grade classes that I have been working with this year recently were wrapping up their unit on angles. They worked on defining and drawing acute, obtuse, right, and straight angles as well as using a protractor to measure angles. I thought this would be a great topic to work in a review activity with STEAM, but wasn't sure how I wanted to approach it...until I went to the Dollar Tree and saw the cutest little bunny mini erasers.
I can't remember who shared it on Instagram, but I remember seeing a STEAM activity using clothespins and popsicle sticks to build a tower. I knew the bunnies would be a great addition to the resources they could use! I know these fourth graders are always up for a challenge, so I knew I could switch up the activity by telling them what I would like them to do (build the tallest tower possible that holds the most bunnies) with the provided materials (popsicle sticks, clothespins, bunnies), but then not give them any materials to complete the task. The looks on their face were priceless! Hello confusion, please meet irritation. I then told them they would have to "buy" their supplies from me by completing some task cards that are worth "Bunny Bucks." The looks on their faces began to soften a little. :)
I told the students that they would each need to complete the task cards/Bunny Bucks individually, but the materials that they earned belonged to the group. Once they had earned their supplies, as a group they could then begin building their tower. I wanted to make sure that the students understood the content first, but also that their individual work contributed to the success of the whole group.
We started with the clothespin Bunny Bucks (I did each set of cards on a different color paper to help the students quickly know which material cards they still needed to complete) and then the popsicle stick Bunny Bucks, and finally the bunny Bunny Bucks. The students did AMAZING with managing their time and resources. I asked them to turn in each set of cards and collect their resources before moving on to the next set of cards. It worked out really well and the students did a great job of coaching one another when they were having some struggles instead of just sharing the answer with their neighbor (we reviewed this first!).
The creations that the students came up were awesome! It seemed that the groups all took a different approach and some were very secretive about their builds. I stressed with them that there is no "right" way to complete this task and they just needed to use their collective creative brains to find a solution. The bunny sandwich approach was highly entertaining, but obviously not the tallest tower!
Would you like e-mail notifications? Enter your e-mail address below to subscribe.