Here's an activity I've done twice now with my students that is a lot of fun, although it still needs some tweaking to get it to go smoothly. It basically involves growing animals from those fun little magic capsules we had as children, and then measuring their area by tracing them on centimeter squared graphing paper and counting the squares.
Step 1: Materialsa) Buy enough magic capsules for each of your children. I purchased mine for a $1 each at Dollar General.
Step 2: Preparationa) Prepare warm glasses of water for each student pair. (Must be warm or the pills will just sit there all day long.)
b) Mix capsules into a cup or two for students to choose from.
c) Cut animal pictures to display in the camera projector if you have one. Students love to guess which animal they are going to get. Then they check the screen to see which animal they received.
Step 3: Activity Timea) Split partners into groups of two.
b) Give a glass of warm water to each pair.
c) Have two students pass capsule cups around for students to choose a capsule and place in their cup of warm water.
d) Pass out paper towels for each student (very important!).
e) Review how to measure area with centimeter squares.
f) When capsules have dissolved, show students how to squeeze dry their animal by first squeezing it over the cup until it no longer drips, and then squeezing it in a paper towel.
g) Place pictures in the camera projector for students to see which one is their animal.
i) Students estimate the area of their animal and then calculate by counting the squares. This is a great opportunity for them to practice combing fractions of squares to make whole squares.
k) Partners record each others measurements and calculate the difference. Hopefully, if they have been careful and combined fractions of squares effectively, the two measurements should not be too far from each other.
Step 4: Have fun!Several of my girls decided to created habitats for their animals during their free time. The creativity of children is ridiculous!
This was a fun lesson, and it will definitely be worth another try next year.
Happy Teaching, Ya'll!