Have you ever wondered why some communities look the way they do? Why there are buildings in some places and not others? And why some communities have more services than others?
These are big questions that are important to answer when teaching children about communities and community planning.
I loved creating a 3D community with my students. It took time to plan from beginning to end, many discussions and decisions, and space in the room for the completed project, but the final result was worth it. You can read more about it here.
Types of communities
Before doing any kind of planning it is important to know what kind of community you want to create. Kids need to look at different types of communities and see how they are the same and different.
There are 3 main types of communities to explore - urban, suburban, and rural. They have unique characteristics that need to be considered when doing community planning.
Here are some to get started with.
- Urban communities are usually bustling with activity.
- They are densely populated, with a mix of commercial and residential buildings.
- High rises and busy streets are also often seen in urban communities.
- There are a wide range of industries and services available from retail to healthcare to manufacturing.
- Services and industries are often located close together, making it convenient for people to work and shop.
- There are many restaurants and shops in urban areas to meet the demands of the population.
- Suburban communities are not as densely populated
- They have less industry and fewer services than urban areas
- They tend to have more parks and recreation facilities
- There are many single dwelling homes with some small apartment buildings, townhouses, or other types of multiple dwelling homes.
- There are some local schools
- There may be some small shops and restaurants
- Rural communities are the least populated
- They are primarily agricultural lands
- They may also be used for industrial purposes
- Houses are spaced further apart
- There is much more space and privacy for people living there
- Transportation access is important because of the distances away from many services such as schools and hospitals
- Access to natural resources such as water supply is necessary
When planning a community, it's important to consider the needs of the population. What types of services and industries are required? Where should different types of buildings be located? What is needed to make the community work for its residents? These are all important questions that need to be considered in order to create a successful community.
It's important to help kids understand the various types of services and businesses that are found in each type of community. Things like schools, hospitals, and public transportation are essential for any community to function properly. Locations of these services are different depending on the type of community, but they need to be accessible.
By understanding these things, kids can develop a better appreciation for the importance of planning in any community.
Ultimately, a community needs to meet the needs of its population in order to be successful. This means that there must be a balance between residential, commercial, and industrial development. There also needs to be enough green space and amenities to support the community's residents. By taking all of these factors into consideration, planners can create communities that thrive.
Kids love the hands on activities of planning and creating a community. Here are some samples of one community that was done by one of my grade 1/2 classes.
If you would like to see a copy of the plan that we used and some of the materials included, check it out here.
My class had a great experience creating this community. I wish you success should you venture to create one in your classroom.
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Do you sometimes wonder if teaching about money is important any more? Do you think children need to know how to use coins and other currency? These questions and many others often start to surface nowadays.
Handling money and using it to pay for things is becoming less common now with so many of our transactions being done online or with debit machines and plastic. This doesn't mean that teaching about money is becoming less important. This means learning about money and practicing how to use it is more necessary if children are to be able to handle money situations in the real world.
It is sad to see that many adults can't handle money correctly anymore. They rely on the machines to tell them how much they need to pay, and how much change to give. They struggle to count out money to make purchases.
Standing in line at the local fast food place the other day, I watched the worker struggle to make change correctly and call her manager to help. I could see that the customer was getting frustrated. Unfortunately, this is going to become even more common if we don't teach our students how to count money and correctly make change.
When it comes to teaching kids about money, there are a few key things to focus on. Identifying coins, counting money, and making change, are essential skills that kids need to learn. Here are some tips to help.
Identifying coins is key to being able to handle money. After all, those quarters don't look anything like pennies! Do lots of activities that involve matching coins. You could do memory games, bingo, I Have, Who Has? games or any games that make coin recognition automatic. It is also necessary to recognize how money is written so that kids can recognize price tags and costs of different things.
Counting coins is another skill that is important. Play money can be used for this, or real coins if you have access to enough of them.
1. Practice counting coins of equal value so that it helps with using the coins later. Count by ones with pennies, by fives with nickels, by tens with dimes, and by twenty-fives with quarters.
2. Practice making dollars with the coins. How many of each coin is needed to make a dollar?
3. Practice counting coins of different values and seeing what they total up to.
Making change is a difficult skill for kids to master. There are a few other skills or steps needed first. It requires being very familiar with coin values and different coin combinations that make the same value.
Activities that help with creating money amounts using different coin combinations and trading of coins to make similar amounts is a good first step.
It is important to be able to add and subtract multiple digit numbers as well so that this skill can be applied to using money.
Counting up is also important. Counting up from the amount paid until it matches money given is one way of making change.
In Canada, we no longer have pennies, so it is necessary to also round up or down when paying with cash. Machines have been adjusted to help with providing the correct change, but it still requires understanding when to round up or down when paying. Sadly, many people cannot do this.
Connecting to real life situations
Teaching the skills is one thing, but providing opportunities for kids to see its use in the real world is necessary so they can make the connections that will help them to internalize them.
If you give a child a handful of coins or bills, they often don't really understand the value of what they are holding. A cheque in a birthday card means even less to them. I remember watching as my grandchildren opened cards received from uncles or others and they didn't even look at the paper cheque that was inside. They just handed it over to their parents. Although in some way they realized it was money, they didn't understand its value or use.
The more we give them practice handling and using money the more we will prepare them for how to use it and the better prepared they will be to understand its value and how to use it wisely in their everyday lives.
This could involve setting up a store in your classroom, pretending to be at a restaurant, or even setting up mock debit machines and debit cards for kids to use.
(If you are interested in trying out a using a menu, I have a free copy of Elisa's Café available for subscribers below.)
Resources to help
I had the opportunity to do a simplified version of parts of the entrepreneur study with my Grade 3 class one year. We were learning about money and it became a unit of money lessons that were created with my class. We also made and sold items for a spring fundraiser and used the money to pay for a bus trip up island to meet up with another class in a different town. Talk about making it a real life experience! You can find out more about this here.
Here are some resources that could help with practicing money skills. American and Canadian versions are available.
Counting Money - How Much Money American version
Canadian Coins Match Up
Money Lessons For Children Unit
Rounding Up And Down With Money
Money Word Problem Task Cards For Kids
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Kids hopping in the hallways, stretching to reach the tops of doorways, and making a human ruler stretched along the wall are sure signs that a class is learning about measurement, or that the teacher has disappeared and the kids are acting crazy.
Measurement can be lots of fun if it is done with creativity and hands on activities. Kids love to have opportunities to try out new ideas.
As soon as you put a measuring tape in a child's hand, you can bet they will start to measure everything around them. Of course, it's important that you show them how to use the equipment correctly if you want accuracy.
Non-standard and standard measurement
There's nothing more fun than a ruler that's constantly being moved around the classroom. So when it comes to teaching measurement, I always start by making sure my students understand the importance of a standard measure. In order to do this, they should do lots of activities using non-standard units first that give different results.
One of my favourite activities is measuring with shoes. I choose two students with shoe sizes that are very different. We pretend to measure a length where we are going to build a fence. The number of shoe lengths is quite different for each student, so it is easy for the kids to see that we need something more standard to make sure we get the right amount of material needed.
This is the perfect time to introduce rulers with inches, feet, and yards, or centimetres and metres, depending on the standard units where they live. Once they get the idea of standard measuring units, add in measuring tapes. There are so many activities that can be done with these tools. See below for more ideas.
Measuring is an essential math skill that children need to learn in order to understand concepts like volume, area, and length. There are many different ways to measure things, and it can be tricky for kids to understand all of the different units. However, there are some games and activities that can help make learning about measurement a little bit easier - and even fun!
Linear measurement activities
Measuring things around the classroom is a great way to get kids interested, and there are plenty of games and activities you can use to keep them engaged. Here are a few ideas.
1. Set up stations around the room with various objects to measure and let the kids rotate around to each station.
2. Do a "measurement scavenger hunt" where kids have to find objects that match specific measurement criteria (e.g., an object that is exactly 10 cm long).
3. Use string to measure things around the class like furniture, doorways or cupboards. Let the kids use a different type of measurement each time e.g. feet/inches or metres/centimetres.
4. Have kids line up in a straight line and then measure them using a standard ruler.
5. Have kids estimate the length of various objects using their arms or feet and then measure the objects to see how accurate they were.
6. Have kids measure their own height or the height of a partner.
7. Estimate and measure! Have the children choose an object - it could be anything from a toy car to a pillow - and then estimate its length. Once they've written down their estimate, they can use a ruler or tape measure to find out its actual length.
Volume and weight measurement activities
Understanding volume/capacity and weight is another form of measurement that is necessary for real world use. It is important to have an idea of how much something weighs, how much is needed of various ingredients for cooking meals, how much soil is needed for planting a garden, etc. Doing hands on games and activities will help kids understand this and hopefully apply it to their own life experiences.
Here are a few ideas for getting started.
1. Using candy or other small treats, measure out equal amounts into separate containers using standard measurements like cups, tablespoons or millilitres. Let the kids enjoy eating their treats as a reward for completing the task!
2. Get creative cooking! Set up small groups for cooking. Let the kids measure out ingredients using standard or metric measurements. Not only will they be learning about measurement, but they'll also get a delicious treat at the end!
3. Fill up different containers with water (or sand if you're outdoors) and have kids estimate how many litres (or gallons) each container holds. Then use a measuring cup to check their estimates.
4. Build towers! This game is perfect for exploring volume measurement. Give each child a specified amount of building blocks - 1 cup, 2 cups, 3 cups, etc. - and see how tall of a tower they can build with their blocks without letting any spill over. This is also a great opportunity to talk about capacity versus weight - how many blocks does it take to make 1 kilogram? 1 pound?
5. Give each child an object of a different size and have them guess which object is the heaviest, lightest, tallest, etc. Then check to see if the guesses are correct.
Other types of measurement activities
There are other forms of measurement that we use regularly as well. Time and temperature, for example. There are also many other ways that we use measurement in various subject areas. It is important to spend some time discussing different types of measurement - linear, area, weight, capacity and so on - and what units are used. Depending on the time available, activities could be done to look at more of these uses. Whenever possible, use real-life examples to illustrate measurement concepts.
As much as possible, let kids get involved with the actual measuring. This will help them better understand the concepts and make it more enjoyable.
If you are looking for some measurement resources for your classroom, here are some suggestions. You can find more by visiting my Measurement category in my TPT store.
Measurement Anchor Charts And Conversions
Linear Measurement Charts And Examples
Measurement Games Team Events
This booklet helps to explain the difference between non-standard and standard measurement. It also gives examples.
The possibilities are endless! Teaching measurement doesn't have to be boring - by doing activities like these, your kids will be having so much fun they won't even realize they're learning! So get out there and let the kids hop in hallways, stretch to reach to tops of doorways, make human rulers, and start measuring!
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Have you ever noticed how excited young kids get when they match the shape with the hole in the shape matching games? From the time they are very young, children are exposed to geometry in their world.
One of the most rewarding things about being a primary teacher is watching kids discover geometry for the first time. There's something so special about seeing the lightbulb moment when they realize that the world is full of shapes and patterns.
Geometry is a fascinating subject that can be discovered anywhere, from the shapes in our environment to the patterns in nature. For primary kids, geometry is a great way to develop their spatial awareness and problem-solving skills.
But, teaching geometry to kids isn't always easy. Some learners struggle with abstract concepts like 2D and 3D shapes. That's why it's important to use a variety of activities and games to help them explore geometry in a concrete way.
I am always looking for fun and engaging ways to teach geometry to my students. I love incorporating games and activities into my lessons, and I have found that this really helps to capture the attention of my kids. There are lots of different games and activities that can be used to help them understand 2D and 3D geometry. And best of all, they can learn without even realizing it.
I am a strong believer in connecting learning to real world experiences. This helps kids to better understand their world and to make sense of the abstract concepts they learn at school.
Geometry is all around us, so there are plenty of opportunities to incorporate it into everyday life. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.
Start with the basics – help your kids to recognise and name common 2D shapes. Then move on to introducing basic properties such as sides and angles. You can use real-life examples to illustrate these concepts – for example, a plate is a good example of a circle, a slice of pizza is a triangle, and a door is a rectangle. Once your kids have mastered the basics, there are lots of fun activities you can do to help them consolidate their learning.
Here are some 2D resources that can help you get started.
2D Shapes Around Us
2D Shapes Bingo
2D Environmental Shapes Task Cards
2D Shapes - I Have, Who Has?
3D geometry can be a little more challenging for primary kids, but it’s still important for them to learn the basics. Start by helping them to identify common 3D shapes such as spheres, cubes and cylinders. Again, you can use real-world examples to illustrate these concepts – for instance, a tennis ball is a sphere, while a block of cheese is a cube and a tin can is a cylinder.
Being able to identify the different shapes by their attributes is more complex, but with practice and hands on activities they will be able to do it. Once your kids have grasped the basics, there are lots of fun activities you can do to consolidate their learning.
One of my favorite activities to do with my students is a geometric solids scavenger hunt. I give them a list of items to find and bring to school. After the objects have been found, we use them to test out different things and then we build structures with them. Note: Make sure that they have permission to create things with them.
Interested in getting a copy of my scavenger hunt and bingo resource? It is available for free for my newsletter subscribers.
Here are some other 3D resources that can help you get started.
3D Geometric Solids Posters
3D Geometric Solids Task Cards
3D Environmental Shapes
Kids get really excited when the geometric solids come out. They are curious by nature, and they love being able to build and create things. The more they get this hands on experience, the more they are able to understand how the different attributes affect the use of the different solids. They learn what solids can be stacked together, what ones roll, what ones slide, and what ones are best for stability, just to name a few.
Here is a set of activities that I created for my students. They loved trying out these different structures and creating their own. They also had fun testing out which solids could slide or roll. Check it out here.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. With a little creativity and imagination, learning geometry can be great fun – for both you and your students!
Don't forget to grab your free copy of Geometric Solids Scavenger Hunt And Bingo.
About Me Charlene Sequeira
I am a wife, mother of 4, grandmother of 9, and a retired primary and music teacher. I love working with kids and continue to volunteer at school and teach ukulele.