Anitra Redlefsen
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home > Learning Activities and Art Projects > Bright Ideas > Bright Idea


This activity is one of my favorites! Each month here at the Greenleaf Way Studio we select an object and a container and students are invited to explore what they see and estimate how many of that chosen object is in the container.

For example, to start off the new school year in September, we viewed crayons in a glass container. Students use grade appropriate math concepts to guess how many crayons are in the glass jar. Some math concepts to consider are:

  • weight
  • volume
  • length and width and height
  • area, perimeter, circumference
Students place their guesses in the special "It’s What Count’s Box." Each month a winner is declared (closest to actual count, either over or under) and is awarded a small prize!

Here are the crayons ~ can you take a guess at how many there are in this jar? (The jar's diameter is 3 1/2" and it is 6" high.)

Since autumn is such a great time of the year to be outdoors, Mrs. R. collected acorns for the October count. The container is a basket. Students discuss:

  • How is the container different from last month? (Size, shape, material, etc.)
  • How might this influence the count?
  • How is the object to be counted different? (Size, shape, texture, color, etc.)
  • How might this influence the count?
  • How did I guess last month, was I high or low, and how might this influence my estimate this month?

What is your estimate for the acorns? (The basket is 6" square and 3" high.)


With many objects that you might choose for "It's What Counts” you can extend the learning by talking about the object, where it comes from, it's role in science, language arts, visual arts, etc. For October, our count led us to a discussion about where acorns come from, their trees, leaves, etc. I made up a "Quizzes" that reinforce "correct" answers to inform students about the object. As always, the winner gets a small prize. Take a peek here for the two Acorn Quizzes and two neat acorn art projects: MORE AUTUMN ART

And remember…if you like what you see and read, let us know!

Do you have a Bright Idea? If so, send it along to me!

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