Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Greater Gator: DIY

Here is "Greater Gator", an easy DIY math manipulative.  I'm always looking for concrete ways to help kids grasp mathematical concepts. Inspiration hit at the dollar store- 2 green dusters became the adorable "Greater Gator"! It is a very cheap and easy way to bring the concept of greater than and less than to life!
"Greater Gator" is made out of 2 cloth dusters from the dollar store.
You will need:
- 2 cloth dusters (preferably green)
- 2 safety pins
- 2 large wiggly eyes
- 2 glass rocks (from dollar store)
- white foam for teeth
- hot glue

 Slip the elastic from the second duster over top of the "head" of the alligator.
 Put a safety pin through each side of the alligator's "mouth".  You can hide the safety pins in all of the green fringe.  The safety pins will keep the alligator together, despite some rough handling.
 Hot glue the wiggly eyes to the glass rocks.
 Hot glue the eyes to the back of the alligator.
 I hot glue the foam teeth right to the top edge of the alligator's mouth.  I measured the foam before I cut out the teeth.
 Hot glue the teeth right up against the edge of the alligator's mouth.  This will help the teeth stand out.
 Here's your finished "Greater Gator"!  A perfect math manipulative and puppet.
There are so many ways to use "Greater Gator"!  I collaborated with Jenn Drake to create some songs and chants for "Greater Gator".  Pick up your FREE copy of the chants and songs here.
Here are a few ways that I use "Greater Gator". 
 Use "Greater Gator" with finger puppets.  Two students can put different amounts of finger puppets  on one hand, while a third will use "Greater Gator" to chomp the biggest number.  This will help students begin to get comfortable with the signs for greater than and less than.
Use Pringles can manipulatives to help identify the larger numbers.  Students will be able to physically move the animals, while counting.  This helps with one-to-one correspondence.  See a DIY for Pringles cans manipulatives here.
Use a "Greater Gator" hat (from the dollar store) and gloves with Velcro to demonstrate greater than and less than- gator style!
 Use blue plates for "ponds" and have your gator chow down on some gold fish!
Thanks for checking out "Greater Gator" with me.  I hope you found some fun ideas for your kids!

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