Plumas Charter School kindergartners Siah Elliott (left) and Liliana Mendez sort their three-dimensional snack shapes before creating characters during their class’s 3D Shape Party. Photo by Ingrid Burke

3D Shape Party teaches surprising range of lessons for PCS kindergartners

Geometry has never been so delicious! Last month, Plumas Charter School kindergartners practiced a range of academic and life skills by creating characters out of snack foods at their 3D Shape Party.

This annual event provides an opportunity for the littlest Quincy Learning Center students to celebrate together while also developing valuable academic and social-emotional abilities. Kindergarten teacher Inge Stock said she designed the party as an alternative to more traditional winter celebrations; the event, which can be held even in inclement weather, gives students of all backgrounds something to be excited about together, building class spirit and reinforcing group social skills.

During the weeks leading up to the party, teachers and parents gathered supplies, and students learned about two-dimensional shapes, three-dimensional shapes, and 2D-3D equivalents (for example, a sphere is the 3D equivalent of a circle). They also learned about the difference between fiction and nonfiction, and created many stories and drawings of people and animals. Anticipation built about the 3D Shape Party, letting the children experience planning and understand expectations.

On the day of the party, Dec. 19, Stock and instructional aide Lindsey Kimzey reminded students what they had learned about shapes and provided plates containing snack foods of different shapes: conical chips, round crackers, cylindrical marshmallows, spherical cereal, and more.

Students were challenged to sort the items by shape. Then, using cream cheese dip, toothpicks, and pretzel sticks to build, the students created their own characters. Geometry and physics came alive as they figured out how pieces fit together and stayed balanced, while narrative skills came into play when they described their creations and determined whether they were fictional or nonfictional.

Children made figures of both people and animals, real and imagined, and even expanded their snack worlds with furniture and accessories! Every creation was unique, and each was celebrated. In contrast to predetermined projects in which each student’s finished product looks similar, this approach reflects Plumas Charter School’s commitment to personalized learning.

By waiting to eat the tempting snacks until after their projects were complete, the youngsters showed their ability to follow directions and control their impulses; both of these skills are vital for success in both school and life. After students proudly displayed their creations for photos, the party snacking began!

Plumas Charter School operates learning centers in Greenville, Taylorsville and Chester in addition to Quincy. To learn more, call 283-3851 or visit plumascharterschool.org.

Ingrid Burke is the public relations specialist for Plumas Charter School.

3D snack foods

Want to throw your own 3D Shape Party? Here are some ideas for edible materials. Fruits and vegetables like apples, jicama, and sweet peppers can be sliced into custom shapes too!

Circles:

round crackers

olive slices

O-shaped cereal

banana slices

round chips

cucumber slices

Cones:

candy kisses

Bugles

almonds

strawberries

chocolate chips

Cubes:

caramels

Cylinders:

marshmallows

Tootsie Rolls

string cheese

Spheres:

olives

ball-shaped cereal

round candies

blueberries

cherries

Squares/rectangles:

crackers

Shredded Wheat cereal

Triangles:

corn chips

Linear items:

pretzel sticks

thin carrot sticks

dry pasta

“Glue”:

spreadable cream cheese

hummus

guacamole

Greek yogurt

chocolate spread

peanut butter

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