January is National Soup Month
”M’m! M’m! Good!” It’s just something that naturally comes out when having a good bowl of soup. Maybe that’s why Campbell Soup adopted it as its slogan. At preschool, we used the story Stone Soup, AND a stone, to make up a batch of homemade soup. The kiddos always thought it tasted delicious! However, if you don’t have time to make homemade soup, you can still add a stone to a can of Campbell’s soup. In either case, homemade or store-bought, read Stone Soup!
Speaking of stones…
My son shares my tendency to, shall we say, make collections. (Some could say hoard.) One of the many collections he amassed was a huge rock collection. There’s EVERY kind of rock in this collection imaginable! This is just a couple handfuls of one bag I found up in his closet.
Rocks* are the basis for the following stone-related activity: stone classifying and sorting. Why is this kind of activity important? It gives children the opportunity to use and develop their problem-solving skills to classify and sort; to compare items and place them correctly. All these skills set the foundation for later, more complex mathematical thinking.
variety of rocks
divided tray or several paper plates
cards *see below
● Set rocks out on work space
● Let your kiddo have time to look through and investigate the rocks
● Once they’ve explored the rocks, suggest they group the rocks into ‘like’ piles
● Key is to encourage your kiddo to explain how they are separating the rocks—how the piles are alike
● IF they seem confused, help them! Some ideas to sort by:
Be aware of your child’s needs…
● You might have to begin sorting for them; verbalizing how you classified
For example, you can comment:
“I notice there are different sized rocks. I’ll put all the small ones together in this pile and all the large ones together in this pile with the medium-sized rocks in this pile.”
Instead of 3 groups, try a classification that has just 2 options. A couple ideas:
·Color; rocks that have 1 color vs rocks that have more than 1 color
·Texture; rocks that are smooth vs rocks that are rough
● Let your kidlet take the lead ASAP
Extend the Learning: ADD more MATH
● Once your kiddo has created piles, start by asking which pile they think has the most in it just by looking at it
● Let them verify their hypothesis by counting aloud—alone OR with you
Extend the Learning–ADDING Language Development with Math
● Take one rock from each pile and ask your child to arrange them in order of size: big, bigger, biggest
● Place the correct card in front of each rock—highlight what the word is
● Using the same rocks see if they can arrange them in order of small, smaller, smallest. WHAT do they notice between the arrangement of big to biggest and small to smallest?
The process of seriation, when items are arranged in order of size for instance, is important to help kiddos be able to place numbers in their correct order, for ordination.
Extend the Learning–ADD Science, Geology
● Maybe your kiddo has noticed that some rocks are smooth and black, others look like they have ribbons running through them and still others look like they have been made up of different layers. If so, introduce the concept of rock types. Click on hyperlinked word for photos of examples.
—–Igneous (volcanic)—formed from cooled lava; these rocks may have crystals, air bubbles or a glassy surface; additionally they can seem hard and dense or very lightweight
—–Metamorphic (changed)—created by heat and pressure, sometimes split into layers with different minerals running throughout
—–Sedimentary (layered)—often created from rock, mud, sand and/or other once-living organisms that settled beneath water. These rocks have wavy horizontal lines that separate the layers, or strata, and there may be fossils contained in the layers
Another classification… Science, Physics
● Did your kidlet notice they can see through some rocks? Then introduce vocabulary relating to the properties of light; how materials allow light to pass. You might want to use a flashlight or minimally have them hold a rock up to a sunny window to look through.
Transparent: Light is transmitted through: the material is clearly
Translucent: Some light is transmitted, some light is absorbed, reflected or scattered; the resulting light is diffused so the material image isn’t seen clearly
Opaque: No light can pass through; light is reflected or absorbed, the material is completely hidden from view
Rocks are all around. You might find YOUR kiddo becomes a rock hound. Perhaps it’ll lead them to a career in geology OR years later you going through a very large collection of rocks with your grandchildren!
Yours in Play!
*Rocks and stones. Is there a difference? In practice I think most people use the two interchangeably. However, from what I’ve been able to glean, rocks are objects whereas stones are substances. Apparently rocks take up physical space and stones are physical matter. For the purposes of this activity I still used stone in the title.