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Problem Solving Activity Ideas


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Hi everyone,

I am trying to enhance my continuous provision areas and would like to incorporate problem solving into our number area. The space I have is very small (the size of half a table) and our current topic is dinosaurs. The children are really engaged with dinosaurs so would like to link it to this if possible! I hope you can help as my mind has gone very blank!!

Tinky :o

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Hi

What about putting various numbers where dinosaurs go? ie 2 dinosaurs in the cave, 4 in the water. Then the children will hopfully put 4 in the water and with adult support take away and add with out knowing it. Does this make sense???? Hope you get the idea.

 

Kat

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How about different sized small world dinosaurs and different sized containers...

you could ask the children to work out which dinosaur fits in which container?

You could extend it by using different coloured/patterned containers and you could label

them with numbers or shapes!!

 

I would love to know how your number area is set up and what you have there already??

Is it out all the time? Do You have lots of resources there all the time or is one thing put out everyday? x

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We always have bits out in our maths area in little baskets - we have things like -

 

counters

unifix cubes

numbered people

wooden numbers

money

shapes

various sorting animals, vehicles etc...

numbers to go on unifix cubes

 

 

We also have a washing line with pegs and some number themed cards (sparklebox).

We also have number puzzles and games accessible.

A favourite of the children's is to get the scales out.

 

Here's a photo of it from the beginning of the year - it has evolved a bit since then and everything has been labelled but you get the idea.

 

post-16441-1243282393_thumb.jpgpost-16441-1243282371_thumb.jpg

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WOW what a lovely big area...looks wonderful!!

What other areas do you have? x

 

We are a reception unit so the areas are spread between two classrooms that used to be linked by a door but we have removed the doors so now it is just a doorway.

 

Physical (which has sand and water as well as a table for other things including playdough, puzzles, beads anything physical) post-16441-1243284435_thumb.jpg

 

Small world post-16441-1243284529_thumb.jpg

 

Creative (no photo)

 

Making post-16441-1243284647_thumb.jpg

 

Role play post-16441-1243284688_thumb.jpg

 

ICT post-16441-1243284710_thumb.jpg

 

Mark making post-16441-1243284738_thumb.jpg

 

Construction (no photo - boxes on a shelf to take to carpet area)

 

Book corner post-16441-1243284792_thumb.jpg

post-16441-1243284557_thumb.jpg

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How do you plan for each of the areas?

Have you just got continuous provision sheets and the children just pick?

Or do you plan weekly for the areas based on a topic etc??

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The resources are always there for continuous provision - which we do have sheets for to help other adults. At the beginning of the year we would put out different things each day to show the children what was available now they just choose but are restricted to one thing in each area. We then try to enhance the areas either linked to our topic or their interests. For example on the builder's tray by the science area we have put our electricity kit because my class were very interested about how things light up. We have had a variety of moving toys on the physical table for them to explore. Changed the numbers to be ordered - fireworks in November, presents in December, Dinosaur footprints recently. Also had magnetic money out for them to use etc... We certainly don't do a great amount of planning for each area. We really want to improve how we enhance each area but are pleased with how well CP is going.

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Thanks SP61HJ for letting us see your photos. It all looks beautifully organised and inviting for the children. I especially love the PSRN area with the washing line 10 green bottles.

 

Gruffalo2 :o

 

Thank you - no problem. It doesn't always look like that! This was in August before the children came! Mind you we do try to train them to keep it looking as smart as possible - we set the example and expect them (and other staff) to follow - guess which are harder to train?!!!!

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Would love to see your continuous provision sheets- to see if i can change mine

for the better!

I love this forum!!!x

 

Ooh also when you add your enhancements, is the same thing put out each day or does it change each day?

Edited by Guest
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Yes, those continuous provision sheets are great. I got them from somewhere else on the forum too - thanks to whoever it was. :oxD:(

 

I have now added them to my planning folder too under 'long term plan' but I think I will gradually revise them with the staff team as a way of reminding them what children may be learning from continuous provision.

 

Oh, so much to do!

 

Gruffalo2

:(

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SP61HJ - Thanks for sharing your ideas and photographs - I am so envious of your large learning space. I currently have a shop in my number area to encourage coin recognition, adding and giving change. I also have a:

Discovery area

Listening area

Creative area

Malleable area

Role play area

Reading area

ICT area

Writing area

Phonics area

Construction area

Small world area

All in a very small classroom!

Thanks for the inspiration, think I will make my number area into a dinosaur nest with eggs which have different patterns, different weights, different sizes etc. May add some dinosaur themed number cards and measuring tapes for them to measure and order the eggs by size. What do you think?

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Sounds great Tinky!

 

What a lovely, well resourced area you have SP6. I've always fought with small classrooms or large room and no resources. Ive just heard that my last school is about to move Reception from the lovely large rooms they had to smaller rooms as they dont need the indoor space anymore with the focus on the outside!

I'm now fighting in a small room to improve the provision for yr1!

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Where as we are having one of our reception rooms extended over the next three months. We are very lucky - our previous and current head have both been aware of good resources. Our current head though has put a focus in year r as he has a really good understanding of its importance - he's a father of 4 aged 6 and under and his wife was a nursery teacher before having the children. Now she's kept very busy with their own children!!!

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Thanks SP6 for sharing your photos - as other's have already said it looks very inviting and well organised!

I teach a Nursery class but from September we are becoming a Foundation stage unit with the Reception class (we're going to have a try anyway!). I'm so excited as it was on my 'thing's I'd like to do' list! One of the rules in reception currently, like you, is to only have one thing out at a time - in some of the areas e.g. construction and small world. How do you find this works for your children? I've just been thinking that there may not be enough resouces for all the children (60) or that some children may loose track of their agenda if they wanted to use a different resource? They also tend to ask children to stay within the role-play areas - what are your feelings on this? I'm currently quite flexible on allowing children to use different spaces in the classroom for role-play as long as it is not unsafe or causing a disturbance for any other children - how do you run your role-play area?

Would really appreciate your views on these issues,

Thanks

Green Hippo xx

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As far as there not being enough to occupy them if there is only one thing in each area I must elaborate really as in small world there is actually three spaces, a table, builders tray and carpet area. Physical, there is a sand and water tray and a table so again three spaces. There is only one space for construction but as they tend to take up more room that works out well. Role play mainly takes place in the area but they do take the baby for a walk outside, or go for a picnic somewhere but it is up to them, we don't restrict them as such. I would agree that as long as they are being safe and not being disruptive they should be allowed as it is part of their play. The model making table is always really popular as well with at least 6 there most of the time. At the beginning we did have to be very strict about one thing out in each place - we would pause them all to remind them if we saw it happen so as not to victimise anyone. It happens occasionally now but it is rare - their response is always oops we forgot! I think the key is setting those expectations at the beginning then it's easy really (maybe we're lucky with the children though!). Another thing that helped I think was that we started the year by putting things out for them first thing in the morning in each area, this set the example in a way so they were used to seeing it like that. I hope that helps.

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Thanks, that does help! I think it was the construction area that got me thinking - I remember going on a course where the lady said that as a child she really hated Sticklebrick so if that was the only resource she would not play in that area. Was thinking of maybe suggesting the rule of '2 kits out as once but must be tidied away' so as to allow the children to choose a different kit if they dislike using the one that has been chosen by a different child? Does that make sense???

Thanks,

Green Hippo x

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Thanks, that does help! I think it was the construction area that got me thinking - I remember going on a course where the lady said that as a child she really hated Sticklebrick so if that was the only resource she would not play in that area. Was thinking of maybe suggesting the rule of '2 kits out as once but must be tidied away' so as to allow the children to choose a different kit if they dislike using the one that has been chosen by a different child? Does that make sense???

Thanks,

Green Hippo x

Probably depends on the space you have - after our extension in the summer we may have more space for two things :o

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In my class, children have free access to the resources and can have out more than one thing at a time, for just the reason you said. Often children combine different resources to follow their investigation - eg taking the duplo to the water to build support for guttering etc.

It really enhances the learning, and the philosophy behind it is sound, but in practice tidying up can be a bit of a nightmare and when other teachers come in (from KS2 especially!) or head showing people round it can look a bit crazy. But I thought carefully about my priorities and my space and my children and the experiences that are available to them at home and decided to work it this way.

My daughter is 4 and my observations of how she plays and learns at home - taking the farm animals to the lego, the mylittle ponies to the dolls' house - reinforced this. But I must emphasise that it is a little messy and chaotic! But that works for me!

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In my class, children have free access to the resources and can have out more than one thing at a time, for just the reason you said. Often children combine different resources to follow their investigation - eg taking the duplo to the water to build support for guttering etc.

It really enhances the learning, and the philosophy behind it is sound, but in practice tidying up can be a bit of a nightmare and when other teachers come in (from KS2 especially!) or head showing people round it can look a bit crazy. But I thought carefully about my priorities and my space and my children and the experiences that are available to them at home and decided to work it this way.

My daughter is 4 and my observations of how she plays and learns at home - taking the farm animals to the lego, the mylittle ponies to the dolls' house - reinforced this. But I must emphasise that it is a little messy and chaotic! But that works for me!

 

I agree - we tend to work like emmajess too and have found it to work well. Granted at the beginning of the year it could descend into total choas very easily but thats what our staggard entry was for, and yes when other teachers arrive in the room at about 2 o clock to the untrained(!!) eye it could look like just a huge mess but the children have had all day to continue their chosen learning activities (we dont tidy up for lunch etc) and yes tidy up time some days can be horrible but I and the rest of the staff feel it is worth it. Feel it is important to also mention that the children have all become very good at sorting and this can be good evidence for their profiles too!! :o

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I can see the benefit of that but I'm not sure the OCD side of me and my colleague would cope if all the resources kept getting muddled up. Saying that though, the children do take things to other places - the dinosaurs are often out amongst the rocks and wood on the investigation trolley and wide range of things end up in the role play area. I was worrying that our OCD was limiting the children's play but having reflected on it I think we're okay!

 

Sorry that was definitely a thinking aloud message!

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