Socks? Teaching with socks? Yes! Socks can be a valuable teaching tool. Here are some ways you can use socks to teach your child(ren) at home or in your classroom.
Estimation-Fill a sock with several objects. Have your child look at the the sock and estimate how many items are in the sock without feeling it. Spend time discussing what you observe about the sock. Is it full? Is it bumpy? Does it lay flat? Ask how these observations affect your child's estimate. Dump out the objects from the sock and decide whether or not your child wants to change his/her estimate based on the new visual knowledge. Check by counting the objects.
Grouping-When counting the objects group them into 2s, 5s, or 10s. Discuss why? Come up with some reasons together as to why this might be helpful. You can repeat these activities with items in the other sock.
Skip Counting-Empty out the sock drawer and count the number of socks in the drawer by skip counting. Discuss how a pair of socks is two socks and that pairs are even numbers. Wouldn't it be odd to wear only one sock?
Even and Odd-Determine if a number is even or odd by thinking about friends with socks. You can have the socks out to visualize the problem. You have five socks. Is that an even or odd number? How do you know? Model how to take the socks and group them into pairs or two. You end up with two groups of two and one left over. If you gave your friend one sock to wear wouldn't that be odd? If you have a remainder of one it's odd.
Problem Solving-See the example above. Here is another way you can teach your child problem solving. You have 17 socks. If you wore a pair of socks a day, how many days would it be before you ran out? Model how to group the socks into pairs of two and look to see if you have any incomplete pairs. Discuss how each pair can be worn on a day and how the single sock would be odd so move it off to the side. Count the remaining eight pairs and have your child tell you that it is for eight days. Eight pairs is sixteen socks. The one sock left over can't be worn by itself that is hwy it is eight days and not nine. What if there was one more sock? Then you have enough socks for nine days. How do you know? Explain, explain, explain.
Categorizing-When you are folding laundry have your child group the socks by color and make pairs. If there are several pairs in the same color group, have them compare sizes and designs.
Measurement-Measure items around the house in socks rather than feet. Explain how this cannot be a standard unit of measure because not everyone wears the same size socks. Measure items in baby socks, child socks, and grown up socks. Discuss what you find out.
Addition/Subtraction-In each sock put the numbers 0 to 9 (or however high you want to practice). Have your child reach in each sock and take out a mystery number. Add the two numbers together to get an addition sentence. Use the three numbers from the addition sentence to write a related subtraction sentence. 4+5=9, 9-4=5 Compare both number sentences and determine that 4, 5, and 9 are in the same fact family. Write out two more (different) number sentences using the same three numbers from the fact family.
For all of these activities you can have your child write down the question and their prediction or you can record data. They can even just write about the activity you did and rate it Green-I learned something new and I was very interested. Yellow-I learned something new and was bored. Red-I didn't learn anything. The next day look over the color rating and have your child explain how he/she came up with the color. If it is yellow, have your child give examples of what made him/her bored and then have them come up with a way to learn the material that would be interesting. Children can have wonderful ideas. Sometimes we need to stop and ask for their input.
Cause and Effect-What would happen if you wore your socks in the pool? What would happen after you got out of the pool? Why?
Discuss if the book took place long ago or today? Discuss what socks are made out of in the story. Research how socks are made.
Compare and Contrast-Compare and contrast an old pair of socks and a new pair of socks. Use as many adjectives as you can to describe each pair. Go to thesaurus.com or use a thesaurus to add even more describing words.
Write a Story-Write it from a sock's point of view. (Author's Purpose-to be Funny) What genre? Fantasy-This could never really happen. Read your story aloud and record it being read using your phone/iPad. Create drawings to go along with your story by using a your computer's paint program or take photographs using your camera or phone. Practice using technology and publish your story by typing it on the computer.
Write a rhyme/song that can be recited when looking for socks or putting on socks.
Put alphabet pieces (magnetic letters, letters written on paper, scrabble pieces, anything) and reach in grab five and write in ABC order. You can do the same with spelling words, vocabulary words, sight words, you name it.
Make a list of as many words you can that rhyme with sock.
Trace a sock and cut out a pattern to make a sock book. In the book, draw settings where you wear socks and where you do not (not in the bath, at the beach...)
Senses-Put a mystery object in the sock and have your child use his or her senses (see, here, smell, touch-not taste) to predict what may be in the sock.
Come up with safe science experiments using socks. A fun one is to see what a sock can hold. Pour water in the sock. Does it stay or does it go right through? Pour sand into a sock, rocks, sugar, crayons, etc.
Which socks are the stretchiest? Compare old socks.
Again, the possibilities are endless! Please share any ideas you may have on how to teach with socks.