I love to celebrate holidays with my class, but it is also a good chance to use their excitement about Easter to get them to do some academic activities. I usually use this time of year as a chance to teach my students about oviparous animals. (The word "oviparous," by the way, refers to animals that lay eggs. My kids are always fascinated to learn this new word. Even many of the teachers I work with don't know what it means!) Each of my students did some research on a different oviparous animal. We learned so many interesting things!
I also created some academic activities using plastic Easter eggs. To create one of these games, I opened up a bunch of plastic eggs, and wrote a single digit number on each egg half. We use Touch Math, so I added the Touch Points to the numbers. My first and second graders who are practicing single digit addition had to choose two halves (they didn't have to match... the kids could be creative with their colors), put them together, and then add the numbers up. Once they got pretty good at that, I added another step by giving them a container of pennies. They then had to add the two halves up, and put that number of pennies inside the egg.
The halves of the eggs.
Putting two eggs together.
Teal demonstrating how to do the activity. They also had a recording sheet where they wrote down the numbers on the egg halves they put together.
I didn't take a picture of the next activity, but for my 3rd, 4th and 5th graders who are learning to count money, I put different amounts of coins into 12 plastic eggs. Then I took a muffin tin and put a round sticker, with a coin amount written on it, in each section of the tin. The students had to open up each egg, count the coins inside, and place the egg into the muffin tin compartment with the matching sticker.
All of the students did some version of the next activity, which I created 3 levels of to differentiate it. (I bought a ton of plastic eggs from the Dollar Tree!) I just hid sight words inside the plastic eggs. The students had to open the eggs, read the words, and then color the matching words on their recording sheets. Towards the end of the week, I made the activity more exciting by putting Easter and spring themed stickers and small erasers into the eggs along with the words. The students could keep the prizes they found as they did their work!
|Noddy and Martin are demonstrating the sight word egg activity.|
We also dissected an egg. Actually, I dissected it while they watched. I explained to them that the eggs you buy in a grocery store never had a baby chick in them. (I remember thinking, as a child, that the yolk was a dead baby chick. It turns out that a lot of my students also believe that!) However, although there are no baby chicks occupying the eggs we eat, all of the parts of an egg are designed to care for and protect a hypothetical baby chick that could have been inside it. We looked at the shell of the egg with a magnifying glass, and talked about the purpose of the shell. (The students hypothesized that the shell is meant to keep the egg clean so you can eat it. We learned that it is also to protect the chick.) I scraped the shell with a thumb tack to reveal the membrane, which looks a little like a thin plastic bag and also helps to protect the chick. When I cracked open the egg, we learned that the egg white and egg yolk provide nutrition for the baby chick when it is inside the egg. We were able to see the chalazae, which are two cords or strings that connect the yolk to the inside of the eggshell to keep it stable. (I compared it to the yolk having two arms that it uses to hang onto the inside of the shell so it doesn't fall.) We even managed to see the blastodisc, which is a little spot that, if the egg was fertilized, would develop into a chick fetus.
The students were fascinated by this activity. They love science. I wish we had time to do more of it. But their favorite part of the activity was when I let them stick their hands into the raw egg and play with it for a while. (I warned them very strictly that they weren't to eat the egg or lick their fingers, and if they did, they'd be done with the activity immediately... and I made them wash their hands afterwards. They were cooperative with these guidelines because the chance to have a sensory experience with a raw egg was so exciting!)
|Teal playing with the raw egg.|
It was a fun unit! I think we all learned a lot! I will be adding more activities to my Easter/egg/oviparous animal unit this year as well.