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This week’s test pin was inspired by an activity pinned from mrsleeskinderkids.blogspot.com. (You can find the original pin here.)
This activity uses popsicle sticks as a way to reinforce math concepts. The teacher had the children pick a certain number of sticks and create a design with them. Then they copied their design onto paper, counting the total number of sticks used.
While this is a great way to work on math skills, my OT mind sees this as an opportunity to work on the concept of visual perceptual skills.
I started by choosing a few popsicle sticks of varying colors. (Adjusting the number of sticks that you start with is an easy way to grade this activity up or down, depending on the child’s skills.)
Then I asked the child to create a design using the popsicle sticks. Here is an example:
(Can you tell it’s a tree and a butterfly? This child did a great job with her design. Some children had trouble with this task of creating a representational figure out of a bunch of sticks.)
Next, I had the child copy the design onto construction paper, with careful instructions to make sure she used the same colors to represent each stick. It looked like this:
The ability to transfer the tangible design of the popsicle sticks onto a 2-dimensional drawing is pretty impressive.
I know I’ve shown you a successful example, but many children found this task to be very challenging. In those cases I broke down each step, working to find the specific area of difficulty.
Since this activity works on many areas of visual perception, it is important to know the skills to analyze. (For a breakdown of each area of visual perception, check out my post: Visual Perceptual Skills: Real Life Applications.) Here is my assessment of the skills required to complete this task:
Visual Closure- Creating a design one stick at a time while visualizing the end result.
Form Constancy- Transferring the image from one location to another.
Visual Spatial Relations- Maintaining the appropriate spatial concepts from the stick design to the paper.
Visual discrimination- Choosing the correct color to represent each stick.
This task could also be adapted to work on visual memory. You could have the child create a design with the popsicle sticks, then take it away to see if they could draw it on paper from memory only.
Overall, I found this to be a very adaptable activity to work on many different perceptual concepts.
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