Students build kinaras from unifix cubes

Pre-Kindergarten Teaching Associate DaNedra Shaifer recently lead an integrated lesson for Pre-Kindergarten students that brought together elements of Social and Global Studies, Literacy, Fine and Gross Motor Skills, and Math.

First, students listened to the story Li'l Rabbit's Kwanzaa by Donna L. Washington. They learned about the feast of Kwanzaa called Karamu and community members coming together to help others. Throughout the story the students made predictions about what they thought might happen next and responded to prompts about what the characters might be thinking or feeling.

Next, Mrs. Shaifer showed the students the kinara in which the Kwanzaa candles are held and the mkeka (mat) upon which the kinara is placed. The students compared and contrasted the kinara and the Hanukkah menorah - noting that the kinara has seven candles and the menorah eight.

Mrs. Shaifer laid a giant “mkeka” on the rug and each student built a kinara base from wooden blocks.  Next they used unifix cubes to build candles of seven cubes each in red, green, and black. This math activity involved students utilizing concepts such as one-to-one correspondence and finding the difference ("my candle has 5 cubes, how many more do I need to make 7?") as well as their fine motor skills to assemble the candles and balance them on the bases.

Finally, the students listened to some drumming music and held a dance party to stretch and move their large muscles!

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