The holiday season may already be behind us, but some fourth graders at Bayville Intermediate School are still reaping the benefits of some holiday learning. Fourth-grade teacher Ann Monsees used the holidays as a tool to reinforce science, math, and problem-solving skills, and these lessons will serve her students well as they dive into more intricate lessons during the latter half of the school year.

Miss Monsees decided to give each of her students a holiday gift. She wrapped the items in festive paper and handed them out to the class. But there was a catch. Before the children could open the gifts, they had to guess what was inside, using the skills they had been learning all year. Gifts in tow, the class headed into the science lab and began their investigations. The small boxes were weighed on scales and measured with rulers, using math and science skills. Students determined what the gifts could not possibly be based on this information – another important skill, especially in test taking. Teamwork was also a big part of the lesson, as students worked in pairs.

“This lesson was a great way to incorporate the fun of the holidays with skills we have been learning all year,” Miss Monsees explained. “The students loved the excitement of it and will take that into 2010.”

Bayville Intermediate School Principal Scott McElhiney noted that the lesson was a creative way to reinforce important skills. “This was a terrific opportunity to engage the students and to show them that math and science can be fun.”

In the end, most of the class was able to deduce that the gifts were playing cards – another item that can enhance skills using numbers, grouping, and so much more.