Shells have many uses in the classroom. If you are lucky enough to live near a beach, you have a cheap supply of manipulatives that you can use with your students. I live in California, but I don't have a trip to the beach planned anytime soon so I took a trip to Hobby Lobby. I not only found bags of shells and I found strands of beads that looked like shells or rocks in the jewelry making aisle. The wheels began spinning in my head because these looked like something that could be used with a lesson.
Look at all of the uses I found for a couple of bags of shells and a few strands of beads. Perfect non-traditional manipulative for your place value center. Shells and strands of beads can take the place of base ten blocks.
Shells are the perfect addition for your ocean unit. Can be used as a math manipulative or science observation station.
While we often think of using shells with our ocean units, these are also a great addition to your Thanksgiving lesson, too. Have you heard of wampum? Native American and later the early settlers made wampum from shells. Click HERE to download a FREE packet about wampum that can be used as a close reading lesson or Thanksgiving lesson.
Wampum had many uses including a substitute for money. Use it with your money unit and Thanksgiving - double duty! You will need a variety of shells, beads, and strands of beads. Let your students act out trading furs for wampum. I found this fur at Hobby Lobby, too.
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