Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday Made It #2

Oh...popsicle sticks!  These really great tongue depressors left me a little "down in the mouth."  I'm dying to do something really great, and a wonderful idea does not even pop into my head.

What has been percolating in my head is that I teach fourth grade and our district's math program is Everyday Math.  For those of you who teach using this series, you know that the very first unit in the book is GEOMETRY! My kiddos love it and we all spend plenty of time learning to identify polygons.  We master identification of polygons, and then we take our first MAP assessment.  For those of you who aren't familiar with the "Magic of MAP testing," let me tell's completed on the computer and the teacher just "surfs" the room, looking over shoulders and watching her sweeties do some pretty amazing things...and, at times, some pretty unfortunate things. does all of this play into my Monday Made It?  Well...even a mere two weeks after the infamous GEOMETRY unit, where mastery reigned supreme, the brain trust in my classroom will identify a five-sided polygon as an OCTAGON!   ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!  As I walk past these testers and see the mistakes they are about to make, there is a smallish part of me (this is a lie, since I have to hold myself back with my entire being!) that wants to jump toward the computer, child, and the offending finger that is about to push the "enter" key and stop the madness while providing a quick refresher course on GEOMETRY.

Trust me...the winter and spring MAP testing is remarkably the same...including the ugly GEOMETRY responses.

My partner-in-crime, the Wonderful Linda, and I have since decided that we must provide copious amounts of GEOMETRY to just about everything we do.  We need to constantly have GEOMETRY activity centers and reinforcement games in place throughout the there will be no more misidentification of polygons.

This is where the popsicle sticks/tongue depressors come in really handy.

Using my handy-dandy hole punch and a few decorative brads, I was able to put together some swell manipulatives that will allow my students to explore the "Wild and Wonderful World of Polygons" using some pre-fab polygons that can be manipulated into a multitude of polygons, both regular and irregular.

Here's a look at what I did...

These are pretty versatile and can be used "differently."  For instance, the five-sided figure can be manipulated into a trapezoid.  Play around...I know that you'll find other polygons that your students need to be able to identify!

I know...geoboards are terrific for activities like this and I adore them in the large group setting or when I am working in small groups with my sweeties.  Everyday Math has a love affair with straight straws of varying lengths and connected with twist ties.  Again, this is terrific in the large group and with smaller groups that I am working directly with.

I have other things in mind, like smaller centers where students can work independently or in pairs.  In fourth grade, we have a name for things like straws, wires, and rubber bands...weapons!  In the wrong hands, these well-intentioned manipulatives and stations can become treacherous...not to mention a parent phone call away from ending the day on a high note...

So, the picture is pretty self-explanatory and it partners nicely with the handouts that I have created and stashed for you to use.  My guess is that is you are a scrapbooker like I am, you'll have the brads and hole punch on hand and at the ready.  I was really pleased to be able to raid my stash and keep the cost low.

Wild About Polygons

Don't forget to make a set for you and a set for a friend (like the Wonderful Linda).

P.S.  If you came up with another great way to use these sticks, please post and link back here!  I'd love to see what you came up with!


  1. Great idea! My district used Everyday Math the first year I taught there.

  2. What a terrific idea!!!! So hands on! The kids will love them and learn tons from them too!!! Love it!!!! Thanks for linking up and grabbing my button! I'm a spaz and forgot to post it the first time;)

    4th Grade Frolics

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  4. I was wondering what to do with these craft sticks also. Our school theme is "Wild About Learning" so this will fit in perfectly!

    Math is Elementary

  5. That is a great idea! They look fabulous!

    Marvelous Multiagers!

  6. What a fun idea with the sticks! Too cool:) OH!! and I've had the same MAP urges frustrating!

  7. Love these! Looks like yet ANOTHER project to add to my to do list. Thanks for sharing!

    Learnings a Hoot

  8. We use everyday math as wel. I HATE those straws and twist ties. I really do. I like this a lot better! Thanks for sharing!
    Adventures in Room 5

  9. What a great idea. The pattern on them definitely add to the fun. I will have to pass this on to the math teacher that I team with.

  10. I love it, the kids will have a blast.

    Little Treasures

  11. Replies
    1. Sticks came from Michaels. I saw them and knew I had to have them. They were only purchased a few weeks ago, so these should be current inventory! Have fun!

  12. What a great idea! We use EM, too. There always seems to be a little something that needs beefing up here and there. Overall I think the program is great, though.

    L-o-o-o-o-v-e those popsicle sticks!

    Psssst, I'm a new follower!
    Peacocks and Penguins - 4th Grade

  13. Such a great idea!
    ~April Walker
    The Idea Backpack

  14. Love your title of your bblog! haha. I'm your newest follower!
    Teaching in Paradise

  15. Totally neat!!! I love it! I think I'll make some too! :)

  16. So creative. Where did you get the sticks and colored brads? Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Pattie! I got these great sticks at Michaels a couple of weeks ago. The brads were part of my scrapbookin' stash, so check the scrapbook aisle of your favorite craft store! Have fun!