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Creative Lesson Plans Using Building Blocks

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BLOCKS IN A BOX

(Critical Thinking Block Activity)

Age or grade: Can be adapted for all ages

Materials Needed: Set of wooden blocks, boxes of different sizes.

Time: 10-30 mins.

Give each child or group of children, a box and wood blocks. Boxes and containers can be of different sizes.

The objective is to fill only the bottom of the container with as many building blocks as they can fit. There can only be one level of blocks, no blocks on top of each other. Blocks must be placed flat. They are to leave as little space between blocks as they can.

First have them predict how many wooden blocks they think they can fit. For older grades you can have them calculate using formulas for area, how many blocks would fit.

Use different shaped building blocks to challenge them. Use more shapes for older children. For younger children use simpler shapes.

When done have them count how many blocks are in the box. How many of each shape are there?

Follow-up discussion

Contrast and compare the different ways the children filled their boxes.

Ask what they learned about how they could fit shapes together to make the most blocks fit.

Was there a way they could fit more? What was the hardest wood block to fit? What was the easiest block to fit?

Were their predictions correct?

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BUILD & COPY BLOCK ACTIVITY

(Design & Communication Activity)

Age or grade: Can be adapted for all ages

Materials Needed:2 Matching set of wooden blocks

Time: 10-30 mins.

Before activity discuss age-appropriate vocabulary

Such as above, beneath, across, vertical, horizontal, symmetry.

1st child builds a structure out of wooden blocks.

This can be simple or complex depending on age.

2nd child has same building blocks,& sits so that they cannot see 1st child.

Objective-

1st child describes his tower, 2nd child copies it.

Repeat changing roles if desired.

Follow-up discussion

Discuss the differences

What was the hardest part of describing the structure?

What was the hardest part of building the wooden block structure?

What could the 1st child have done to better describe his structure?

What could the 2nd child do to better understand the instructions?

Did they use and understand vocabulary words discussed?

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DESIGNERS & DOERS BLOCK ACTIVITY

(Group design & build activity)

Age or grade: Can be adapted for all ages

Materials needed: Set of wooden blocks, paper, pencils, rulers, camera

Time: 20-60 mins.

Assign half of the students to be designers, and the other half to be builders.

Designers work together to draw a structure for a building.

Builders organize the wooden blocks into groups of shapes, while designers are making the blueprint for their structure.

Then build using the blueprint drawn by the designers.

Take a picture of all the students together with the structure.

Repeat the activity switching the groups if desired.

Follow-up discussion-

-How did you decide to draw your structure?

-What was hard about drawing the plans?

-What was hard about following the blueprints?

-What would have made it easier to build?

-Were there certain building blocks that made it better?

-Ask designers if builders made the structure as they planned?

If not, what was different?

-Was it symmetrical, if they don’t understand this concept, teach about symmetry?

-If the structure fell before completed, explore why.

-Did the designers like the way their design turned out.

-Ask the designers if they would have built it differently.

-Ask the builders if they would have designed it differently.

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