I visited Marissa Kishi’s kindergarten class at Whiteside, this time to investigate the Reggio-inspired shapes kit with them.
One of the choices for the students was to PicCollage on the iPads and choose a shape and take photographs of examples of that shape around the classroom. The students then created a labelled collage of their shapes, creating awareness of shapes in the environment and how shapes combine to create design, structures, etc for different purposes.
The students enjoyed creating shapes and combining shapes using the shape sticks.
I also brought an Osmo along for the students to try creating shape pictures with the Tangram game.
Two interactions during my time with these students stood out to me.
One student who has not been very verbal with me spent several minutes engaged with two triangular blocks, moving them around in different ways to combine them to make new shapes. I watched him for awhile, noticing his perseverance and ability to flip and rotate the triangles. When I asked him to tell me about what he was investigating, he said simply, “triangle.” Powerful.
Another student kept pulling me over to where she was engaged with materials to tell me all about what she noticed. She held up a semi-circle and pretended to eat it like a piece of watermelon. She stacked several shapes with a triangle on top and pretended to blow it out like a candle. She made flowers and ants. She made many connections to the world as she investigated the shapes and she saw stories in the shapes.
The two students engaged with shapes and language in very different ways but both highlighted to me the power of materials to support students mathematical thinking. What stories do shapes tell? What shapes live within shapes? So much to explore!
A short Animoto video of our shapes investigation can be viewed HERE.