The formal objectives for teaching preschool shapes-stars
– students will describe the characteristics of the shape
– students will recognize the shape in the environment
– students will compose pictures using two-dimensional shapes
Gather students together and ask them to tell where they see stars. The usual answer will be "In the sky." Explain to them that there are other places where we may find star shapes too. Share with them the book A Star in My Orange: Looking for Nature's Shapes by Dana Meachen Rau.
Discuss with the children the more unusual places to find star shapes. Demonstrate the star in the orange (or other citrus fruit) by cutting one open and allowing the children to handle the fruit and look closely at the star shape in the middle. You may also like to show the children the "star" in an apple that is cut width wise.
Other books that could be used are: Ottie and the Star by Laura Jean Allen, or How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers.
Display a large star and ask the students to count the number of "points." (You may wish to use a colored overlay to show how a star shape is made up of two triangles. This will be just a brief introduction at this stage as young students will find this a difficult concept.)
Provide construction paper stars and invite students to decorate them with crayons, markers, sequins, Styrofoam shapes or fabric scraps. Tape or staple the "stars" to drinking straws or long pencils.
Distribute copies of the Color and Count the Stars paper. There are stars of different sizes and stars upon stars to give students a different perspective.
Have available black construction paper and packages, or sheets, of star stickers. Encourage students to use the stickers and the paper to compose their own pictures of the night sky. Some students may wish to add the outline of buildings or trees.
Distribute copies of the Find the Star Shapes paper. Encourage students to talk about the pictures and what they notice in each one.
Provide stars cut from different colored paper that are all the same size and ask students to fit them together so that there are no spaces. Encourage them to learn the word – tessellate – they will love the sound as it rolls off their tongues!
Mix up some Star Paint: Mix 1/4 cup liquid starch, 1/4 cup water, 2 tablespoons tempera paint, 1 cup of salt.
Use this 'paint' to color star shapes and paste onto pictures, or use star-shaped sponges to make prints on paper. (Hint: you will need to stir the mixture often during the activity.)
Enjoy a Star Party
To complete your preschool shapes stars unit hold a Star Party!
Serve cheese cut into star shapes and star-shaped chocolates. (Available in bulk food stores)
Sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star accompanied by the students waving their stars on straws. Make up your own versions of this song.
Listen to Star Light, Star Bright
Wear headbands decorated with stars of different colors and sizes.
Invite students to show their activities and describe the stars in each one.
Evaluation and Assessment
For each student a checklist could be used to record:
Does the student recognize the shape of a star?
Does the student recognize that a star has 5 points?
Did the student compose an individual picture?
As a final tribute to Mozart's Twinkle Twinkle Little Star make up your own class band using combs covered in tissue paper to play the tune – students will love the sound and the "tickle" around their lips. Have fun teaching preschool shapes and stars!
Star Paint Recipe: Active Learning for Young Children by Lynn Molyneux. Trellis Books
Stars pictures: www.leehansen.com/coloring/Shapes/images/stars-coloring.gif