Unicorns and Legos

The Activities

  1. Topic: Square Numbers: Book: My Full Moon Is Square by Pinczes.
  2. Topic: Story Problems:  Navigate through a map of fantasy creature hexes, looking for the diamond hex. To move onto each square the kids have to solve a math problem.  Each fantasy creature asks a different type of story problem. Witches: solve a code. Dragon: Solve a money problem.  Troll: Story problem. Firefly: Find a square number bigger than X.  Unicorn: Fractions.  Maze: Complete a numeric pattern. When any team finds the diamond hex, both teams get to pick a small treasure from the box. We did this in two teams, 2 kids on one team, 3 kids on the other.
    The kids solved the following problems during this activity:

    1. (Firefly) First square bigger than 0.
    2. (Unicorn) Divide a circle in half, then split each piece into 3 pieces.  How many pieces do you have?
    3. (Unicorn) Divide a circle in half, then split each piece in half, then split each piece in half. How many pieces do you have?
    4. (Unicorn) Divide a circle in four pieces. Then split each piece in 3 pieces. How many pieces do you have?
    5. (Dragon) A diamond ring costs $100. How many rings can Hans buy with $125?
    6. (Dragon) Diamond earrings cost $20. How many earrings can Olaf buy with $207?
    7. (Troll) A troll had 12 muffins. He ate some of them. Now he has 7 muffins. How many did he eat?
    8. (Troll) There are 20 muffins. Some trolls came. Each troll ate 4 muffins. How many trolls are there?
    9. (Troll) 4 trolls brought muffins to a party. Each brought the same amount. There are 24 muffins at the party. How many did each troll bring?
    10. (Maze) Complete the pattern: 1 5 9 13 __   __
    11. (Maze) Complete the pattern: 1 2 2 3 3 3 4  __  __  __  __
    12. (Maze) Complete the pattern: 91 82 73 64 __   __   __
  3. Topic: Spatial Reasoning: I built several small models out of Legos. The kids each got a model and had to build an exact copy of it.
    Photo 2014-09-05 11.01.45 AM


This circle took longer to prepare for than many circles, because we had to create the hexes for the Fantasy Map activity.  We made them by searching for clip art of the various fantasy creatures, using PowerPoint we printed them out inside hexes.  You can download the PowerPoint here.  Then I glued the hexes onto poster board and cut them out.  I think we’ll be able to use these more than once.  During this activity the kids used pencil and paper, and also Base Ten Blocks to work out the story problems.  I used my standard treasure box which contains stickers and gum.

The lego activity took very little prep time, I just had to come up with some interesting simple models.

How Did it Go?

Both activities were really successful this week!  We had 5 kids at circle this week, which sometimes leads to a wild circle, but all the kids were well-behaved and concentrated on the activities.  In the Fantasy Map activity, some kids were able to solve the problems quickly on their own, but I made them explain it to their teammates to make sure everyone agreed before they got to move on to the next hex. Everyone was excited to pick a treasure when they found the diamond.  We played two rounds of the activity in about 20 minutes.

The Lego activity was also a big hit.  The kids cheered when they saw the Legos. Nobody wanted to leave at the end of circle, the kids wanted to copy all the models.


Attack of the Green Slime!

The Activities

We spent the whole circle drawing a decision tree map for the Choose Your Own Adventure Book: The Green Slime by Saunders.  Choose Your Own Adventure books have places where the readers decide what they want to do next…Do you want to try to save your little brother from the slime? Or go get help?

Each time we got to a decision point, we added it to the map (which was a poster board taped to the wall). The kids took turns making each decision.  We put a box around each end point.  The kids soon got good at reading the map and could figure out which choices we should make to get to the next new part of the tree.

Photo 2014-09-05 11.45.32 AM (1)


This took virtually no preparation. I just read through the book and drew my own map.


How did it go?

It was a small circle today, with just 3 kids. I had done this activity with my daughter previously, so she was familiar with this idea.  Some of the other kids had never seen Choose Your Own Adventure books, so they were surprised at first.  Halfway through they started to get the idea, and were happy to suggest titles for the various decision points.  They were all pretty interested in the book itself.