Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Colored Rice for Sensory Table, Class Project, and Decorations

20 pounds of rice in 6-1 gallon baggies

At the school I work at we do Math Integration- basically this means that our specials teachers come into our math classes and we co-teach, integrating both their subject (Spanish, PE, Music or Art) and math together.  Having only 4 specials teachers and 12 regular classroom teachers, we rotate them through our classrooms.  I have had a lot of fun with this.  With PE we played a super fun game the kids named "Mathsketball", I have a great song the Music teacher and I are going to teach the kids and Art just naturally lends itself to this model, but how do you integrate Spanish and fractions?  Today, Senora and I came up with a super fun idea.

It starts with this idea on Pinterest (doesn't everything these days?) on how to color rice.  The lady on the blog layered it into a red, white and blue pattern for a centerpiece at her 4th of July party.  Hello flag idea!

We have decided that we are going to give the kids directions in Spanish to create a flag pattern of a Spanish speaking country in a jar using layered colors of rice.  They will use either measuring cup measures or fractions of the jar in the directions.  This is going to be an absolute blast!  Our student have limited vocabulary in Spanish so they will have to find and translate words they know and take the math vocab (in English) they are learning to try and figure other words out.  For example, un medio is 1/2 and the kids just learned that the median is in the middle; it may seem like a big leap for these kiddos, but somehow I don't think they will have any problem.  They will use the information they have to draw a rough draft before they are allowed to fill their jars.  Not only will they need to add fractions with unlike denominators to create a "whole" jar, they hopefully will gain an appreciation of how difficult it is to be somewhere and understand few words of the language.

Coloring the rice was SO easy.  Put rice in a bag, add food coloring and a bit of rubbing alcohol, and shake up.  When it is evenly coated, spread out on cookie sheets to dry.  We heat our house with a pellet stove, so I set the cookie sheets on top of that and 10 minutes later the alcohol had evaporated and the rice was done.  Click this link if you want more specific instructions.  The best tip: when you can't smell the rubbing alcohol anymore, the rice is dry.  I dyed 20 pounds of rice into 5 colors (+ white which I obviously didn't have to dye) in less than 2 hours while eating dinner and bathing the baby; the most difficult part was waiting for it to dry.

I'm very excited to see what the kids come up with and when I'm finished I'm going to pour the rice into a plastic box for my kiddos at home to use as an indoor sandbox.  This is going to be a winning activity all the way around.  I will update after we have completed the activity.

Both the flags and the rice sandbox are a huge success!  We had so much fun!

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