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5-Minute Fillers: Measurements and More

Volume 30

Melon Measurements: How Many Seeds?
Builds estimation and math skills

Cut the two ends off a watermelon and put them aside. Then cut up a watermelon into slices, one slice per student; the slices should be as close to the same size as possible. Hand each child a slice of melon. As they eat away, have them spit their seeds into a napkin or a small paper cup. When they finish eating, have students count the number of seeds they found in their slice of melon. Based on the number of seeds they found in their slice, have students estimate how many seeds there will be in the whole melon (not counting the end slices that you put aside). Have them write their names and their estimates on a piece of scrap paper. Collect their estimates. Then ask each student to share their data -- the number of seeds they found in their slices -- and tally the actual total of seeds. Finally, look through the estimates the students made to find out whose estimate came closest to the actual total. Ask that student (and others who came close) to share how they arrived at their estimates.

Categories in a Can
Builds vocabulary, spelling, and classification skills

Pose the following question to students to start a lively discussion, or use is as a prompt for a quick journal-writing activity:

What if you could drive and your friend threw you the keys to her car for a day. Where would you go? Why would you go there?

You will need a can the size of a coffee can or larger for this activity. Write each letter of the alphabet on a slip of paper. Mix up the papers and put them in a can.

You might substitute Scrabble letter tiles or magnetic letters for the letter slips.

Announce a category -- for example, kinds of pets -- and then have students take a turn taking a letter from the can. The student must give the name of an animal that might be kept as a pet that begins with the letter he or she drew from the can.

For young students, you might remove the letters q, x, and z. For older students, or students who have played the game before, you might let them come up with the categories. Some other possible categories include the following:

  • Author Names (Last Names)
  • Names of Cities
  • Types of Sports
  • Games
  • Book titles
  • Famous People (Last Names)
  • Things Found in the Kitchen
  • Baseball Words
  • Types of Snacks

Builds spelling skills

For this lesson you will need a box of macaroni in the shape of alphabet letters. You might simply drop a handful on every student's desk, or you might prepare individual plastic bags of the pasta. On your signal, students will dump out the pasta on their desks and start spelling. Who can come up with the most words? Who can spell the longest word? Give prizes for those words!

Variation: With older students you might not accept any words with fewer than four letters in them.

More PixPuzzles

Picture puzzles such as the ones below are a terrific tool for stimulating students to think critically. Write or draw the following puzzles on a board or chart. Challenge students to study the puzzles to see if the words -- and the way they are written -- give them clues to the common expressions the puzzles illustrate.





Answers: 1. Split level; 2. hole in one; 3. long underwear; 4. a bad spell of weather

Article by Gary Hopkins
Education World®
Copyright © 2004 Education World






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