# Standard: G3

Apply transformations and use symmetry to analyze mathematical situations

## Fire Truck Fun

In this lesson, children will make connections between the pre-drawn shapes of a fire truck and the shapes of various snack items.

## Simply Symmetry

In this lesson, children will explore the concept of symmetry and become more aware of symmetry in the world around them.

## Slide, Flip and Turn

In this lesson, children will recognize and apply slides, flips and turns using wooden pattern blocks.

## Symmetry Game

In this lesson, children will pair up and use pattern blocks to copy one another’s patterns.

## Fort Building 101

“LOOK!” screams a four-year-old with such joy that we know this isn’t a garden-variety “I want to share something with you” moment. As the gang rushes to her side, they come to a complete standstill, frozen in awe. Oh happy day! Some kind souls have shared a fort with the community! There before us […]

## Nest Building is STEM Building

“I found an empty nest! Can we keep it?” Owen’s joyful discovery captures everyone’s attention. Three-year-old Avery comes running. “Are there eggs?” she asks her older and wiser five-year-old friend. “Can I see?” she begs. “Please let me see?” “There are no eggs, just an old nest. Can we please keep it?” pleads Owen. After […]

## Welcome to My Paint Party!

“Sally, look!  My rock turned purple!” Three-year-old Eleanor can’t contain her excitement as she changes the color of a rock with her paintbrush. Ah, the joy of painting rocks with water. Yes, water! I will be the first to admit that I really wanted to be the educator who LOVED paint and easels and […]

## Return of the Sand Gardens

“I found GOLD!” squeals Laura. Four little friends are quick to join her in the latest gold rush in the sandbox. In the wee hours of the morning, often when the sun is barely above the horizon and the coffee is still being brewed, gold will magically appear in our sandbox. Spray-painted rocks that […]

## Chalk Magic

“Vera, Vera!  Come see how bright the colors are in my rainbow!” Four-year-old Owen is ecstatic about his discovery of a colorful collection of wet chalk after a summer shower in our outdoor classroom. This happy accident has paved the way for a sensory adventure as we meet our math and science early learning standards […]

## May the Force be With You

“Look! The people blocks are in a line and they crash at the bottom,  just like when we play on the slide!” This is a lightbulb moment as Evelyn transfers knowledge gleaned from a previous play experience into her current hands-on learning. A chain-reaction domino fall during today’s block play reminds Evelyn of […]

## Rock and Roll

One bright fall morning, I notice that the noise level at Under the Gingko Tree is exceptionally low. A quick glance around reassures me that all of my early learners are safe and accounted for. Then I notice a quiet but intense play buzz happening in our rain garden, so I wander over to […]

## Finding STEM in Snow Play

After months of sequestering and social distancing to stop the spread of COVID-19, we could all use some fresh winter air! Nature is just what the doctor ordered to stimulate our senses while we meet our early learning standards. The winter months offer an abundance of STEM learning opportunities, so don’t let the falling […]

## The Magical Field of Magnets

” Hey guys! Look over here! My magnet sticks to the bike!” On this warm November morning, our magnetic wands have brought STEM learning to our outdoor classroom. By leaving the other magnetic materials behind, I am hoping to encourage the children to harness their curiosity and creativity for other forms of magnetic exploration. […]

“Do our shadows look like the monsters in the book?” asks James. I glance over and see James and Noa connecting their shadows by overlapping their arms. When we engage children in outdoor shadow play to support active exploration and discovery, their creativity is endless! James and Noa are playing out their version of […]

## STEM Building in the Window Frame

“AUGGGHHHH!” I hear screams, a crash and giggles galore. The joy of Magna-Tiles® has returned to our ever-popular window-stacking play. When these colorful magnetic tile mosaics come crashing down from the window frame, the children respond with laughter and joy. By contrast, the collapse of three-dimensional block formations often elicits groans and tears. Something […]

## Rainbows, Sunshine and Superheroes

“Evie, come look! I’m a superhero! I have superpowers!” calls Jamie from the foyer. Curiosity piqued, Evie leaves her blocks behind to see what her best friend is up to now. “Rainbows!!!” Evie shrieks as she spies the colorful light pattern on Jamie’s wrist. Everyone within earshot dashes over to see the rainbows. And, […]

## STEM + Beanbags = F U N!

I recently grabbed our dusty box of beanbags off of the top shelf of the closet and took the beanbags outside. We rarely played with them indoors, so what was I saving them for?  If a beanbag gets lost or forgotten under the plants and soaked in the rain, who cares? At least it […]

## Rainy-Day Block Play

Today’s dark skies and heavy rain have driven us indoors for what started out as a low-energy day. But now it’s even quieter—as in “too quiet.” I can feel my anxiety rising. But as I look around and see the children engaged in deep, calm block play—with wooden blocks strewn all over our classroom—I break […]

## A Small Whiff of STEM

“I smell cinnamon rolls!” exclaims Henry as he races through the gate towards our outdoor classroom. Everyone stops what they are doing to inhale deeply. “I do too! I want a cinnamon roll!” pleads Noah. My group is quite disappointed to learn that I am not baking cinnamon rolls this morning. The delicious cinnamon-roll […]

## STEM Play with Dominoes

“Hey, Evelyn!  Go get your cell phone and meet me at the stumps!” calls Noa. My head whirls around as I check the classroom to see if a cell phone has actually made its way into school today. Then I see Evelyn running to the basket of dominoes to get her “cell phone.” Whew! […]

## Full STEAM Ahead with Geoboards!

“Look what I made!” shouts Parker. Our moment of silent concentration and focus is interrupted by Parker ecstatically showing off her geoboard. “You made a house?” asks Linnea, looking a little wide-eyed and confused. “How did you do that?” “I just added shapes and it worked!” Parker answers, equally amazed by her own creation. “I […]

## Exploring Colors on the Light Table

As the days grow shorter and the slanting rays of sun that create our rainbows are replaced by clouds, we shift our energy to other forms of investigative play with light and color. “Saaliha, come play with me at the light table!” Nora calls out. Saaliha joins her friend and the STEM investigations into […]

## STEM Soup!

“Who wants soup? I am making soup for lunch today!” Eleanor shouts to anyone willing to join her as she “cooks up” her concoction. Eleanor is our concoction wizard. She can often be found adding loose parts to a large pot of water, mixing away while she muses about the ingredients she needs to […]

## Smiling Boot Prints in the Snow

Today is one of those magical winter mornings when snow blankets the ground and clings to the trees around our center.  The sun is shining and the world looks so sparkly and irresistible that we head outside in spite of the freezing temperatures. “Hey! Who has the smiling boot?” Jacoby calls out to the […]

## Geometry with Chalk Mosaics

“Oh, I like your mosaic, Avery!” says Claire, who has wandered over to look at the mosaic that Avery has just created with sidewalk chalk and tape. “Yours only had triangles. We did squares and triangles and those long skinny squares.” “Oh, you mean rectangles! I want to see it!” Avery exclaims. He jumps up […]

## Stacking Up Early Math and Engineering Skills

“We can’t reach the top to make it bigger!” says Rowan with a giggle. “Can we stand on this table to make our tower taller?” Linnea pleads. Four-year-olds Rowan and Linnea have taken over the front foyer of our early childhood center for some serious block play. This bustling area will soon be filled with […]

## STEM Play With Pattern Blocks

“Hey, that’s cool. I like your guy!” says four-year-old Jaheem, peering over Michelea’s shoulder as she plays with her pattern blocks. “It’s not a guy; it’s a flower!” Michelea replies, tilting her head to try to see the “guy” that Jaheem is referring to. “That’s the stem and the leaves,” she explains, pointing to […]

## Eclipse Party 2024!

“The birds are chirping so loud—I think they’re scared,” said Vera as she looked up at the sky with a pair of certified safe eclipse glasses pressed against her eyes. She was absolutely right! The singing birds—along with the chirping crickets and the barking dogs in the neighborhood—were louder and more intense than usual as […]