Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mission to Space

We had quite an exciting day yesterday- we went to space! I had to teach a lesson for my mentor teacher and my UF supervisor to observe, so I decided to teach math. We're working on geometry and drawing shapes from different perspectives and I wanted to try something creative, so my mentor teacher and I came up with an activity for the kids where they went on a mission to space!! Bear with me, this is a long post, but worth it!

Here's how we did it: I reviewed how to draw perspectives and how to imagine a solid shape when looking at a net, then the kids partnered up and were given a brown paper bag and a ziploc bag of cube legos.
Doesn't that clip art look intense and awesome??
Inside each bag, they had rolled-up instructions and 10 numbered clues. These were their instructions:

  • You are on a mission to space with your shoulder partner! You need to find the planet Perspectiva because it has a special resource called Shapino. The United States needs this resource to replace gasoline and they want you to get it!
  • You'll need the clues found in your "Mission Pack" to help you complete your mission and avoid danger. 
  • You will complete all calculations in the "Mission Log" (your math journal) when answering each of the clues. Be sure to write down the clue number and work in order, beginning with clue #1. 
  • After each clue, you will eat an energy capsule (an M&M), which you will find in your Mission Pack. Use the tools in your bag, along with the cubes to complete your mission. Good luck Space Cadet!

Rolled up instructions and then a stack of numbered clues
After repeating some important instructions (next time I would write these on the board), they got working and had an absolute blast! Using the clues, I had them identify their spaceship, land on a planet, identify another spaceship, find their resource, calculate how much to bring back, and then fly home. They had to turn in their data to mission control (me!) and if it was complete, they were paid (with a mini milky way) haha. I like to think I'm funny ;)  They also had a checklist to assess themselves with, giving themselves 1 point for drawings, 1 point for calculations, 2 points for written responses, and 1 point for working cooperatively. I used this as the rubric for scores out of 5. Here's an example of one of the clues, just to give you an idea.
The biggest thing for this lesson was for them to draw a certain perspective of a solid shape,
 like from the top, front, or side.
Let me tell you, the kids love love LOVED this activity! Their favorite parts were the M&M energy capsules (duh), getting cubes to build the shapes with, and all the different clues. The first clue was to make a shape out of a cube net to create a walkie talkie. I have to share this picture because these boys were using them the whole time! And hey, the more engaged the students are, the fewer behavior management issues you'll have (obviously).
It says Walkie Talkie and has a keypad and an "answer" button! haha
 You could do something like this with any subject or topic! Just make a mission somewhere with individual clues, even incorporate other subjects, like science. My fourth graders LOVED it, which meant my supervisor and mentor teacher LOVED it, which is great news for me!! We'll definitely be doing more missions in the future!!


  1. This is a super idea. I know 4th graders loved it. You are so clever. Too bad those little 2nd graders missed out on "Miss Intern of the Year's Super Duper Lessons." Mimi

  2. Such a cute idea! Love your ideas and your blog :)

  3. Thank you! We all had a lot of fun with this one =]