Math isn't just about 1-2-3—it's also about grasping more abstract real-world situations where numbers and counting can come into play, like counting out money and reading a clock. Get a leg up on these concepts with this project where art and math collide: the coin clock!
Get out your large sheet of cardboard. Help your child cut a large circle in the cardboard with scissors, using a large circular object like a dinner plate to trace around. If the cardboard is thick, you may want to use a box cutter to cut out the circle. If that's the case, adults and only adults should perform this step!
Give your child the cardboard circle and coins. Have him place coins around the clock “face” so that the number represented by coins equals the number that goes in each place on the clock. For example, 1 penny goes at 1 o’clock. Two pennies go at 2 o’clock, etc. When he gets to 5 o’clock, switch from pennies to 1 nickel. Use a nickel plus pennies for 6, 7, 8, and 9 o’clock, then switch to a dime, etc. Use this time to quiz him on coins and their value, and get some addition practice in as well!
Cut two arrows (one slightly shorter than the other) from cardboard for your child to use as clock “hands.” He may wish to color the arrows with markers. Help him attach the clock hands to the middle of the cardboard circle using the brad. Use scissors or a pen to poke a hole in the cardboard pieces for inserting the brad.
With the adult supervising use of the hot glue gun, the coins can now be glued to their correct positions on the clock. As you glue, play around! Try to find all the possible combinations of coins that add up to the number you're gluing.
After the glue dries, give your new clock a spin! Move the hands around to match the time, quiz your child on different times of day, or test his addition skills by asking him to add different groups of coins on the clock.
Beth Levin has an M.A. in Curriculum and Education from Columbia University Teachers College. She has written educational activities for Macmillan/McGraw-Hill and Renaissance Learning publishers. She has a substitute teaching credential for grades K-12 in Oregon, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.