Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Nesting Cans Activity

I’m all kinds of frustrated with Google docs- I have printables to upload for you all, but I just can’t get the stars to align…I’ll be working on that later. Anyway, I thought I’d post this cool activity that I’ve been doing with my kiddos for the last 13 years. My first year teaching, my mom and I ran into my sister’s kindergarten teacher at a teacher store. Somehow we got to talking, and she told me about this activity that she has always done with her kindergarten kids. I loved this- especially once I got into my classroom and discovered that Texas first graders think they live in the city of Texas, the county of Texas, the state of Texas, and the country of Texas.
Granted, this is a tough concept to grasp, so I love this great visual for the kiddos.
First, I read Me on the Map by Joan Sweeney, or My Global Address by Tamara Nunn.
                                 global address
Then, I get out this can with the world map on it.
You can tell this was before I wanted everything with cute background paper on it…Hmmm, looking at it now, that tape looks really tacky…I digress…
I have a kiddo come up and hold the can for everyone to see and we talk about our world.
Then, I pull out the can that is inside the big one…
And we talk about our continent of North America. Lots of kids recognize the U.S. in this one…
Another kiddo comes up and holds this can and we start from the beginning.
Then, I pull out the can inside…
We talk about our country of the United States of America and how it is part of North America.
I think you get it…
Our state of Texas, and then,
The last one is a film canister (shows how long I’ve had this) with a house on it. I’ve always meant to add one with our city- maybe this year.
When we finish this, the kids make a cool representation of this on paper. I wish I had a picture of an example…They start with tracing a big circle on manila paper to represent Earth, then inside, they trace the U.S., then inside that, they trace Texas, then inside TX, they trace their house. Each one is colored differently and they look so cool. This is a tough concept for littles, and I think this helps them visualize the different sizes.
I’ll try to take pics when we do this activity this year so you can have a visual!


Tanya said...

That's super cool. I love the nesting cans idea!
First Grade is Fantabulous!

Melissa said...

I love it and would love to see the pictures of what the students make. Thanks so much for sharing this great idea!

Andi said...

So cute! I love this and I'm definitely using it this year.
Thanks for sharing!!

Mrs. Miller said...

I like this idea! What a great visual.

teachfirstfun said...

We do a similar activity, but we use the cute, colorful stacking cups from the infant/toddler section of your local store. There are just enough cups to include each part from Me On the Map.

Ms. Lopez said...

Love it! What a great idea. Thanks for sharing that!
Coloring Outside The Lines

Mrs. Jackson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mrs. Jackson said...

This is such a cool idea!

Love, Hugs, and Ladybugs

Mrs. Olsovsky said...

I love this idea! My kiddos have such a hard time with this concept. Yes, they think that we the country we live in is Texas. LOL!!!

Karen said...

What a great idea! I'm going to feature this on

Melissa said...

Maybe the film canister can become the city and inside that a little house from Monopoly.

Frugalteacher said...

Excellent visual!

Angela said...

I love this idea and will work with this with my kids this week, thank you!!

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Anonymous said...

Cool concept, but the scale is off by a considerable margin.
Earth: ~510,100,000 km²
North America: ~24,000,000 km²
Continental United States: 8,080,464 km²
Texas: 696,241 km²

The United States accounts for about 1.58% of the Earth's surface. Another fun but little-known geography fact that is great for kids: Alaska is 2.47 times larger than Texas, although it is represented as being much smaller than the contiguous states on most maps.

When teaching children, accuracy is very important, they absorb information so well that it is really a hindrance to them if they are presented with misinformation. Though I know the intentions of this idea are good, it is essential that facts are not compromised to make a point.

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