I have been collecting items for my junk boxes for years! Have you ever heard of Math Their Way? In the 1990's, I went to a week long training and I use a lot of the activities for Math Lessons and Math Centers. It is possible to get the Blackline masters online - here and the Summary Newsletters - here.
Junk Boxes are a fun and inexpensive math tool to use in the classroom. They are just collections of junk! Buttons, keys, bottle caps, small plastic toys, seashells, hair barrettes, plastic seasonal rings with the ring part taken off, and plastic cupcake decorations are just some of my junk box collections. I keep mine in plastic storage containers with the locking lids (Dollar Tree).
How do I use them? The junk boxes can be used for a variety of skills. We use them for sorting, patterning, counting, addition and subtraction. After I distribute them, I always give them 5 minutes of "free exploration". Then they take a "museum walk" (no touching) where they walk around the tables to see what other students created with their junk boxes (patterns, sorting, etc). After they return to their seats, we get started on the lesson. Here are some photos:
|"Show me four pieces of junk."|
|Addition with junk boxes|