No matter what age range you teach, you will inevitably run into plateaus with teaching. It can be quite difficult to keep the same material interesting and engaging for your students and, to an extent, for yourself. That’s why it’s helpful to incorporate new and fun content to help your students feel excited about their coursework. As such, you might consider using pool noodles in the classroom to create different ways to teach.
One of the most challenging things young students learn in their first years of education is how numbers interact. Once students master number formation and basic addition and subtraction, they move on to multiplication, where things can become confusing. Most young students learn best with visual components, so you should use pool noodles to help them learn multiplication. Cut up a pool noodle into about two-inch thick pieces and write a variety of numbers and equation symbols with a permanent marker.
Then, make a partial horizontal slice in your noodles and place them all in a clear box so you can easily adhere the noodles onto the ridge of the box with the slit you made. Place a multiplication symbol foam noodle on the lip of the box and have your students grab two numbers to multiply. Then, when they find the solution, they can look for the foam number and place it on the ridge as well. That way, your students can work with a variety of number combinations to learn multiplication in a fun way.
Another different way to use pool noodles in the classroom is by using them to teach phonics. The preparation for this craft is quite similar to the multiplication approach, except you will write a variety of words that your student can use to learn phonetic sounds. However, avoid making horizontal slits. Instead, you can place them vertically on a paper towel holder so your students can easily see and read what you wrote on them.
One of the most surprising aspects about these foam wonders is that you can use pool noodles to teach STEM activities. A fun activity you can do is make a gravity wall, as this is a super exciting and interactive way to teach your students about gravity and potential and kinetic energy.
Begin by slicing a pool noodle horizontally to make an open slide that you can adhere to a wall with duct tape. You can adhere as many noodles as you wish to the wall, making a wide variety of patterns and avenues. Then, allow your students to place marbles in these slides, giving you the perfect segue into a discussion about the forces of gravity and energy.