Snap Circuits

Snap Circuits is a mainstay at many makerspaces and has won numerous awards. The Snap Circuit Jr. Kit on Amazon has over 4,000 reviews with an average rating of 4.8 (out of 5) stars.  That’s how crazy popular Snap Circuits are. I introduced Snap Circuits to a small group of students last year and knew it was a keeper.

This year, 4th graders throughout the district are being introduced to Snap Circuits in the classroom.  I didn’t want our 5th graders to miss out so I borrowed six Snap Circuit kits from the Teacher Support Center.

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Fifth graders have the opportunity to explore circuitry with Snap Circuits on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during lunch.  I haven’t had a huge response, but those that come, really seem to like it. I overheard one student say, “I love this!  I can’t wait to come back.”

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Students work in pairs and are provided with goggles. One component of the kit is a fan that flies off and could potentially hit a student in the eye.

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I really don’t help much with this activity.  If they are new to Snap Circuits, I get them started on Project One. Once they’ve successfully complete a circuit, they’re on their own.  If they run into problems, they ask other students for assistance.

Tangrams

Tangrams are an ancient Chinese puzzle composed of seven shapes or tans.  When assembled, they form a square. You can rearrange the seven tans to make animals and other shapes. All seven tans must be used and lay flat. All seven pieces must touch but not overlap.

0921160926a-2My  2nd graders LOVED Tangrams.  Assembling the square was a tough task but they persevered until they got it.

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After my students assembled a square, they were encouraged to make animal shapes out of the seven tans. I downloaded Tangram Puzzles off the web and laminated the sheets for my students to use.

We’ve only pulled the Tangrams out once this year in makerspace, but it’s a great additional resource to mix things up a bit.

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A Tangram original, “House on the Mountains” by Fatima. In traditional Tangram rules, all seven pieces are supposed to touch, but this was so cute, I had to include it anyway. 🙂

Doodle Station

Why have a Doodle Station?  For quick, artistic, creative fun!

Originally, I was contemplating a table with a white board surface. Many makerspaces have white board tables or white board walls, but when Kathy at Teacher Support Center gave me this cute MALA Tabletop Paper Holder from IKEA, I immediately thought this was the perfect solution.

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RESOURCES

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Magnetic Tiles

Magnetic Tiles were a big hit at Literacy Night!

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Magnetic tiles are great when you have limited time. I usually place them out during morning recess with a couple of books about structures.  Children are drawn to the colorful shapes and don’t need any guidance. Unlike LEGOS or K’Nex, students can create a pretty impressive structure within minutes and they’re a breeze to clean up. Great for outreach events!

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Magna-Tiles are the most popular magnetic tiles set out there but they are a bit pricy ($119.99 for the 100 piece set on Amazon). I was able to buy two sets of the Playmags 60 piece Starter Set for $26.99 per set.  It was a slick deal on Amazon.