Fun Math Activities For 5Th Graders latest 2023

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Picture Projects for Visual Learners

A picture is worth a thousand words, but to a visual learner it is worth so much more. Connecting the dots for a visual learner can be difficult, but with pictures it can be both creative and fun.

Here are some ways that using photographs can stimulate your visual learner or simply stimulate student creativity.

Pictures encourage creative writing

At the beginning of the school year, I asked the students to bring a baby photo for our class bulletin board. Before placing the picture on the board, I asked them to change the picture and write a creative story about what they thought was happening in the picture.

For a history lesson, I copied several photos of WWII soldiers or advertisements. Students were tasked with writing a poem or other forms of expressive writing, or making an oral presentation, explaining the image.

Pictures create classroom memories

Since 5th grade is the end of the elementary years (at least in my school), I asked the students to buy a 12 x 12 scrapbook at the beginning of the year. On the last Friday of the month, we would take the last thirty minutes or so to document activities or special events that occurred during the month. It not only served as a dissertation for the students, but also as a lesson in journal writing.

Throughout the month, I kept writing projects, math projects, etc. which were completed and stood out from the daily lessons. Students expressed their thoughts about a specific event on the page with photographs, special writings, documents, flyers, etc. Some students got very involved in the activity using specialized scissors, papers, cutouts, stickers, etc. Easy.

It was wonderful to see each student express themselves in different ways. By the end of the year, the scrapbook served as both a memory book and a writing portfolio.

Images strengthen the bond between home and school

Most parents like to see what their child is doing in class. Some parents would sit in class all day if we let them! However; for those who can’t volunteer or don’t have time to come and see what’s going on, the photographs allow them to connect with the school and the child.

A few years ago I invested in a smart phone – the smartest thing I’ve ever done! In less than a minute, I can photograph special activities and email all the parents with a little “diddy” of what we were doing at the time. To develop the photograph, I can ask the parents to comment or “criticize” the activity. Response emails would then be posted on our class community board or given to students for their scrapbook. (Not all parents respond, but I got at least 90% of them. For students whose parents didn’t respond, I’ll write something to post on the board).

Students love to see photos of them “caught working” and will comment on what they were doing when the photo was taken. Plus, the photos I send serve as conversation starters at the dinner table when mom/dad asks “what did you do in school today?” Parents can show the picture and ask students to explain what happened.

Out-of-class activities encourage parent involvement and give parents the chance to work with their child. It’s also nice for parents to share with relatives who may not live near the child to feel more connected.

Pictures simplify difficult lessons

Science is a difficult subject for the visual learner because it often calls for abstract thinking, for a visual learner that can stretch beyond the realm of the imagination and create confusion. To put things in perspective or for a more concrete reflection, I can use class photos.

For example, I taught about light and spectrum. To help illustrate this concept, I’ve assigned a camera project. I asked students to take pictures of various objects that fall into specific categories related to our science chapter (eg, shading and reflection). Using what we talked about in class, students were asked to use cameras, find or create situations that fit the required category, and take a picture. For observation, of course, students had to take a picture during the day. Not only did they have to take a picture, but the students had to be aware of positioning, angle, and more (a great extension of the science lesson).

When they were finished, each student was then asked to develop their images, place them in a small photo album (dollar store variety) and using an index card, explain the term/concept photo scientist placed in the slot behind the image. Now students had a fun, creative, and applicable use of science concepts that they could refer to for tests and other lessons. It can also be done by studying the weather, animal habitats, rocks and minerals, and much more.

Images help with problem solving

In a previous blog, I expressed my love for math and math projects. Using photographs with various math activities and having students write down the steps, organize the sequence, and put the puzzle pieces back together helps to learn the process of difficult math equations.

For example, we learned to calculate the tax on purchases. As it was close to Christmas time, I asked the students to bring various flyers. I asked each student to create a Christmas list and with a given budget, the students had to start their “shopping”. After shopping for each person, we listed the tax calculation steps together on the board (I took a picture of our steps). Students were then asked to complete a budget table showing the price before and after tax.

This project lasted a few days. I took photos while the students were at each stage of the project. (i.e. make a list, select items, use a calculator or solve a problem by hand, fill in a budget table, add taxes, and do the final calculations). I then developed the images (or you can print if you have photo paper and a color printer), numbered the images, and posted on the bulletin board.

The students were then given a numbered photo and asked to explain the methods at that particular stage. It helped them understand the concept and procedures involved in calculating tax, multiplying percentages, and could also have served as a lesson in sequencing. What did we do first, then…etc?

Pictures personalize school work instruction

Students love activities and projects that are personal to their lives or provide an opportunity to share more about them. My class and I read The World According to Humphrey together, a delightful story about a hamster who joins a 5th grade class. At the end of the story, I gave each student a little booklet that I created and a hamster tag chart to color and name.

The students were then assigned a diary of seven days in the life of their hamster. They were encouraged to take pictures of their hamster in various settings and activities. They loved it! I have received such wonderful adventures involving my students and their hamsters with pictures! By making this assignment personal, students were more involved than they would have been in writing a standard reading report.

Another example is a family project in which students were asked to take pictures of their family members. Since we were talking about adjectives, the students had to take the pictures, post one on each page and list the adjectives describing the person, the clothes they were wearing, the context, etc. Since we put these pages in a booklet created by the students, they could be used for other activities such as descriptive writing, listing adverbs, nouns, etc.

Other interesting uses of pictures in the classroom

Other uses for pictures in the classroom include taking pictures of body parts and allowing students to create puzzles, sequence activities, create business fact cards, pictures representing parts of speech and, of course, course, to write prompts.

How to start using pictures in lessons and activities

Some of the things I have done in the past that have given me the opportunity to use images in so many activities throughout the year as well as images that students can add to their yearbook involved:

* perception of “image costs” at the beginning of the year,

* contact developing places such as Walmart, CVS and other camera stores for grants or special discounts,

* work with a photography club that would sponsor my class (special thanks to Manteca Camera Club for working with us for the past two years),

* get volunteers to buy disposable cameras,

* develop photos that I have taken and placed on CD,

* Check tag sales and craft stores for cheap stickers, die cuts, photo splits, stencils, specialty markers, page covers, or specialty paper,

* and of course just asking for donations.

Different ways to set up photo activities

Of course, I didn’t do these special activities every lesson, just the ones that I thought would really bring out the creativity in my class or benefit the visual learners in my class. I would set aside the last Friday of the month, ½ days, or early layoffs, as time to work on albums.

For other activities, this would take place while we were studying specific things such as the light/spectrum chapter in science, or students were completing outside of the classroom.

Special tips

With any additional project or activity, teacher direction is needed. If students use a camera in the classroom, students should learn proper handling and safety rules. Be sure to take the time to go over the basics of photography and explain how to frame or set up a shot.

Students can only take appropriate photos and never without first asking the person’s permission (this is the highest rule in my class). Make sure you have permission from each parent before starting any type of camera project. Be aware of your school’s policies and check with the principal and parents before posting a photo of a student (even in the hallway).

Photographs are a wonderful extension of the classroom. With technology at your fingertips, using digital cameras, web pages, a photo store and other apps are great tools for exploring and understanding other subjects, developing creativity and allow students who are not as expressive in writing a different method of completing the same assignment.

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