Learn while popping!
This year’s Pop It is last year’s fidget spinner, and, believe it or not, they can be pretty cool learning tools; think bubble wrap but less wasteful and equally as satisfying. Pop Its come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, so keep that in mind when choosing the best one for any activity. I try to stick to the traditional circles and squares because I find them most useful, especially in math. There are Pop Its already labeled with letters or numbers, but you can also make your own using a sharpie. Want to see how you can teach with Pop Its? Here are 12 activities to try in both math and literacy.
Practice Counting & Skip Counting
Pop a bubble each time you say a number. Or, count forward (skip count) by numbers other than one (2, 3, 5, 10, etc.).
Learn Odds & Evens
Pop all the odd (numbers ending in 1, 3, 5, 7, or 9) or all the even numbers (numbers ending in 0, 2, 4, 6, or 8).
Create different arrays by popping in rows and columns. Works with addition and multiplication!
Pop Its can be used as a tool for adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing.
For adding, pop each digit and then count the total to find the sum.
For subtraction, pop the first digit and then unpop the second digit. Count how many remain to find the difference.
Reimagine the 100
You will need a hundreds pop-it board. Students can use as they normally would to support counting, numeracy skills, and mental math.
Pop the lowercase letter to match each uppercase letter. Then place the matching uppercase letter tile in that spot.
Pop a bubble for each sound. How many sounds do you hear? Write the letter for each sound.
Practice the Alphabet
Practice the alphabet in order and pop each letter as you say it. Or another way to teach with Pop Its is to play a game where one student calls out letter names (or sounds) and the rest of the class pops the corresponding letter.
Teach Consonants & Vowels
Pop all the consonants or all the vowels. Then write them in the correct column.
Pop the bubbles (in the correct order) for the letters that spell the dictated words. Then, write the word on the line. A teacher can call the words or a student! This can also be done with picture cards. Choose a card and pop the letters to spell the word in the picture.
Count the number of syllables in a word by popping one bubble for each. Then, write how many syllables are in the box.
Encourage Writing (Opinion & Persuasive)
Should Pop Its be allowed in school? Create a solid argument with evidence using this free graphic organizer.
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About the Author
Allyson Caudill is an elementary language & literacy teacher from Raleigh, NC. She is an advocate for inclusive education and co-founder of Ready, Set, Coteach!