Friday, April 17, 2015

Exploring Cross Curricular Connections

Hey there! Happy Spring Break to anyone else who is also enjoying some "relaxation" this week. Because I'm a total NERD, I spent my first 5 days of break at two different PDs {which is why I am blogging a bit later this month- thanks to my lovely friend, Lauren, who swapped days with me!!}. It was pretty neat to see the content of this blog post that I have been planning for a while now discussed at one of the SDE sessions! It was nice to see that I'm on the right track. 
First, let me say that achieving cross curricular connections is not as daunting as it seems! Since my curriculum is pretty much set in stone, I cannot teach thematically. However, making cross curricular connections is how I make sure that our lessons MAKE SENSE to my kiddos. I don't want them to think that reading can only be done at reading time, writing can only be done at writing time, etc. I want my students to see that all learning is intertwined!
For the past few weeks, we have been reading nonfiction texts. Since The Very Hungry Caterpillar is one of my favorite Eric Carle books, I decided to read it after we read a few nonfiction texts about caterpillars and butterflies. We spent some time discussing how this fiction book is different from the nonfiction texts we read.
My students are absolutely in love with this book, so when they saw me bring it out to read it again during math time, they were super excited! So how did I incorporate The Very Hungry Caterpillar into math and our measurement unit? We started by making our very own caterpillars. I gave everyone a full sheet of 12x18 construction paper, and let them rip or cut the paper into any size that they wanted. They loved the ownership that this gave them.
Next, they scrunched their caterpillars like a fan, and made it as tiny as it could. 
I let them choose whatever they wanted to measure their caterpillars with! Literally, anything- legos, unifix cubes, colored tiles, dice, base 10 blocks, crayons- anything! They could not believe that I wasn't telling them what to use. Who knew a little choice could go such a long way!
My students had to use all of the measurement rules to accurately measure the small caterpillar. Then, they chose three things that they wanted their caterpillars to eat, and recorded them on the sheet. They did not have to use the food from the book, but many referred to the book for help with spelling {what smarties!}.
Since everyone's caterpillars ate a lot of yummy food, they obviously grew! My students stretched out their caterpillars as much as they could, and remeasured them using the same units of measure that they originally chose. They recorded the caterpillars' new lengths, and we had a discussion about how much each caterpillar grew!
We needed a way to display our caterpillars, so why not throw in a little art?! I am not normally this adventurous, but I wanted to add some FUN in to this culminating activity. I showed my kiddos how to paint with watercolors, and we painted backgrounds for our caterpillars! {Thankfully, there were no spills!}
We glued our caterpillars to our backgrounds, and attached our recording sheets! I can't wait to hang these projects up when we return from Spring Break! Make sure to stop by my blog next week to see how they look! Do you have a cross curricular lesson or activity that you love? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!! Happy Friday, everyone!


  1. This is so cute, Gina! I love how the caterpillars "grew"! I am sure your students will remember this meaningful lesson for years to come! Thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas with us!
    First Grade Bangs

  2. I love this! I'm going to do this with my first graders as a review activity this week. I think you did an amazing job incorporating literacy, writing, art, and math!