Maths Craft and Electrical Bugs

Sometimes when I have a great idea it is quite hard to make the sausages understand that it IS a great idea.  Like yesterday, I was full of renewed enthusiasm and was determined to start February off with a bang.  I really wanted to get our new poetry book out and had visions of the girls listening to me reciting a few verses with their faces full of rapt attention.  Nope.  The sausages wanted to have a sword fight instead.

So then I suggested they could make a start on Mathletics or Reading Eggs.  Nope.  They wanted to send each other secret messages using invisible ink (not bad I thought, at least they’re spelling and writing).  But that soon petered out and I could tell the petty squabbles were about to begin so I had a quick burst of inspiration and got them doing a craft that involved a bit of maths too.  Piñata times tables – genius!

I’ve been scratching my head for weeks trying to come up with a way of reinforcing the times-tables that M has learnt and starting D on them.  The easiest way to get the sausages to do learn anything is by doing it through craft.  On Sunday, M had a few friends round to celebrate her birthday and the piñata was VERY popular: I think quite a bit of anger was unleashed on the poor donkey.  The bright colours reminded me of some tissue paper we’ve had in our craft box for years so I quickly drew out the 2 and 3 times tables on a cereal box and let them loose on it, with great results.

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After that, D got on with watching a new episode of Numtums on CBeebies while M had a game of chess.

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I’ve been getting quite a lot of ‘I’m bored’ complaints from M so after her chess game I quickly cut out about 40 or so words to use to give her ideas for a poem.  Considering she is not one for creative writing she really seemed to get on well with this exercise – I think having ready made words to choose from helped, and the fact that she didn’t have to write anything.  The poem turned into a little story about a boy and a girl but it didn’t matter, she was being creative and that’s what counts.

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Today started off in a similar fashion, trying to get the girls engaged in an activity was quite difficult – M was saying she was bored but then huffed every time I suggested something.  In the end I used a bit of ‘forceful encouragement’ to get her going.  We made electrical bugs!  We spent over an hour putting them together and both girls faces lit up when they realised they looked like Blaze from Tinkerbell.  M was soo excited when her bulb lit when she connected the antennae to some metal scissors.  Unfortunately D’s bug didn’t work and we couldn’t figure out why.

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I tried to continue the flow and we went on to BBC Bitesize to play a quick game on circuits and conductors.  It went quite well in that both girls seemed to get it but they had had enough after a few minutes.  I set up another experiment to show static electricity using M’s party balloons but the momentum had gone and they both wanted to bat the balloons instead.  Never mind, I felt like I had succeeded in getting February started just as I had planned.  And the day has continued well in terms of keeping the girls engaged and motivated.  And the house is a mess, which is always a good sign.  Let’s hope we can keep it up for the rest of the year.  The motivation that is, not the mess. 🙂

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