As part of our daily math class we have been using centers all year long. One of our centers has been dedicated solely to making something that is related to the topics that we are learning in math. 3 groups this year decided to work on tools that would help them through the year in other math topics.
One group designed and built a personal mini abacus to use for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
Another group designed and built a wooden pinball machine that they plan on using to play multiplication games on. (multiply two numbers your ball lands on)
A third group designed and is building a door curtain that has different patterns that can be changed at different times. They try to get other students to figure out the pattern they created.
This was possible for our second graders with the help of our STEAM coach. They first thought of a few ideas of what they could make. They also asked teachers and students for ideas. Once they decided on what to make, they would spend a couple of days with their coach and he would help them measure, cut, saw and collect items they needed. They would then assemble it all and show it off to their classmates. Instead of being inside our classroom during their center time, they would do the work they needed to create the learning tools they had in mind.