math · STEAM

Fun Friday- Lego Patterns

Today for fun Friday, we will work on patterns. Patterns can be found all around us. Many insects have patterns on their bodies.

Self Mimicry
25 Best Dragonflies and damselflies images | Insects, Beautiful ...
232 Best insect - pattern & texture images | Beautiful butterflies ...
The Science Behind Nature's Patterns | Science | Smithsonian Magazine

Your child can explore patterns with many items, but today we will use Lego blocks to create patterns. Children are taught that a pattern is something that repeats itself. We label patterns using letters. An AB pattern would be green-red-green-red or tall-short-tall-short. An AAB pattern would be green-green-red-green-green-red or tall-tall-short-tall-tall-short. This can also be explained by saying one green, one red, one green one red or two tall, one short, two tall, one short.

When working on patterns in preK and K we tend of focus on one attribute at a time to explain the patterns.

Have your child create a pattern using Lego blocks.

AB pattern

This picture demonstrates an AB pattern, or actually many different AB patterns. You will see that this pattern can be read as black, yellow, black, yellow, black, yellow, black. It could also be labeled as long, short, long, short, long, short, long. Or 8, 4, 8, 4, 8, 4, 8… do you see that one?

ABB

After your child begins to see how to make an AB pattern, demonstrate how to make AAB and ABB patterns. These patterns are similar and can easily be taught together. This pattern is an ABB pattern blue, red, red, blue, red, red, blue, red, red. It can also be stated as 1 blue, 2 red, 1 blue 2 red, 1 blue, 2 red. This helps the child focus on the quantity and not just the naming of the pattern. If you flipped the pattern over you now have the AAB version.

Typically you would then move into an AABB pattern and then introduce a third item moving from ABC to AABBCC and then going to AABC, ABBC, ABCC etc. You will be impressed at how intricate they child create their patterns when you show them the process and let them explore.

ABC pattern

Just remember to have fun!

STEAM · story · writing

Topic Tuesday- Insects!

Children love insects. Who doesn’t enjoy learning about those flying, crawling, pesky and cool critters? This is a great opportunity to teach your little one about doing research… yes, you read that correctly. Even 4/5 year olds enjoy doing research. They love learning facts. But, here is my suggestion… skip wikipedia… go to youtube! There are so many videos made for children that teach about anything and everything.

E- KWL Charts - The Amazing World of Teaching
KWL chart
A Bug's Life | Insects preschool, Insect activities, Insects ...
can, are, have chart

Have your child choose one insect (make sure it is an insect and not an arachnid, we will work on those later). Create a KWL chart (what I Know, what I Want to know, what I Learned). You can either write in the chart for him/her or have them draw illustrations to help remember what they put into each section. Another great learning chart for child is a Can, Are, Have chart. This can be started before you research, you might be surprised what your child already knows about the insect of their choice. Have him/her state ________ can ________ (caterpillars can become butterflies), ________ are ________ (ants are little), ________ have ________ (flies have wings).

After you have worked together on this research, you can have your child draw and write about the insect. In my classroom, we often take the information off the Can, Are, Have chart and make it into a class book. Each child chooses one fact and then draws and writes about the fact. This is an easy sentence to write as they have already stated the sentence Ants have 6 legs, with an illustration of an ant.

Hey Little Ant is a fun story to read with children. If you do not know this story, I encourage you to read it and then get chatting about it. The story is a conversation between a boy and an ant. The boy is explaining why it should squish the ant and the ant is trying to explain why the boy should not. The book ends with the question still up in the air. Have your child draw a picture of what he/she would do if he was the boy. Would they squish the ant or walk away? Why? (This can be taken into either an opinion or persuasive writing direction depending on how you word the starter, see below)

math

Monday Math- Symmetry

This week we will do a bit of exploring about insects. Make sure to check out the links on Sunday’s post for stories and information for your preK kiddo on insects.

Today we will focus on symmetry. When we learn about symmetry in preK we learn that it means to make things the same on both sides. We use mirrors to show that the two sides should look the same (ie a mirror image). Most insects have very clear lines of symmetry down the middle. https://all-about-symmetry.com/line-symmetry-in-insects/

shape symmetry
not symmetrical

But, before we get to insects, let take symmetry back a step or two… shapes. Cut out basic shapes. Show your child how to fold the shapes to locate lines of symmetry. Also show fold that would be incorrect (see triangle photo).

Once your child begins to understand the concept of lines of symmetry (do not expect mastery, just a basic understanding), we can have some fun. Here are a few fun projects you can do with symmetry:

fold paper to draw insect
symmetrical dragonfly

Fold a sheet of paper in half and draw half an insect (butterfly, dragonfly, ant, housefly, bumblebee, etc). Show your child how to draw it on the fold so that when it opens up it is the whole insect. Then have him/her color it so both sides are the same. This coloring does not have to match the real life object, the real lesson is making sure it is symmetrical.

If your home is anything like mine, you have lots of Lego bricks around the house. Here is a way to use the Lego items to practice symmetry. Find a variety of matching blocks. Set up a design and have your child create a matching symmetrical version. Remind them that it is a mirror image and therefore should build out from the middle.

Lego symmetry
finished Lego symmetry