Monday, August 2, 2010
I have had a surprising number of searches to this blog for Silly Bandz educational activities. Searching the net did not yield a remarkable number of choices so I decided to write a blog that would provide people with a few ideas of how to substitute Silly Bandz for other manipulatives traditionally used in classroom environments.
Silly Bandz can be used as a substitute for other manipulatives, especially those used for sorting activities. Activities designed to teach children about sorting by attributes that have traditionally used pattern blocks or other manipulatives could use Silly Bandz. Students can sort by color, shape, size, theme, etc. While teachers and parents may initially suggest methods to sort the items, students should be encouraged to create their own sorting methods and explain them. Teachers and parents can mix sets and require them to find ways to sort the sets that combine multiple sets. This would not allow children to separate the animal set from the car set for instance. They would need to find a rule that would sort both sets under a new rule, size, color, or some other choice that would include animals and cars in the sort.
While there are better manipulatives for counting, never discount engaging children's interest. Children enjoy Silly Bandz so using them as manipulative counters can be a means of engaging kids in math problems. This is less practical for more advanced problems, but it is a good way to get children engaged in early math in the same way some people use stickers and other picture clues.
Graphing can be a simple lesson with younger children or a more complicated marketing related activity with older children. Many teachers teach graphing to kids by posing a question, having children answer the question and then having the kids graph the results using a variety of methods. Posing questions about the Silly Bandz provides a variety of options. This can also work with older students by including questions that are more complicated. The students can not only create the questions, but also generate a broader group to answer the questions and present their results in proper graphing formats.
Silly Bandz is another marketing fad. However, students in the elementary and upper grades can learn about economics from studying fads. Students can learn how they were introduced to the product, what makes some of the items more attractive than others. There are all kinds of lessons to be learned from their own buying, trading, and marketing choices. It is a great introduction to consumer and capitalistic principles. Teachers and parents who are concerned about students trading their own items can develop a classroom supply that like other manipulatives is used for lesson purposes and does not become personal property after each lesson.
Picture Credit: MG Shelton Flickr.com