Monday Made It…Just Ketchin’ Up!

Ok…I’ll admit it…I haven’t been inspired as of late.  But this morning, I took a sneaky peek at all of the great posts out there and I must admit that I was quite inspired to put a seed of an idea into play.

I bought these goofy little ketchup and mustard bottles at the Dollar Tree last summer and thought that maybe these might make an interesting addition to some sort of learning center.  I shelved them for a bit and then ran across them as I was putting my room in order and…well something clicked.  Literally.  I actually felt the lightbulb snap on and so…

These goofy things were born!


I had a feeling that if I put some light string into the bottles and tied the ends that I would get a bottle that “shoots” the string out when it is squeezed.  My little brain tied itself around this idea and it really worked!


Here’s the scoop as to how to make these babies:

  1. Cut a 15″ length of lightweight string.  I used kite string.  (Note:  Kite string can be “colored” using spray ink that you would use in scrapbooking/papercrafting.  I used Heidi Swapp’s Cherry Red Spray Ink and October Afternoon’s Lemon Drop Sprinkler to get these colors.  They also do a great job coloring hair…in case anyone is interested!)
  2. Tie many many many knots into the end of your string to keep “ketchup” or “mustard” from shooting out of the cap.  
  3. Thread the end of a needle and drop other end of string into the cap and out the top of the nozzle.  
  4. Tie many many many knots into the end of the string that is coming out of the top of the nozzle and fray the ends…for giggles mainly.
  5. Create labels for each of the bottles.  I used “Customary Catsup” and “Metric Mustard.”
Note:  While I am a HUGE FAN of funky spellings, I simply cannot endorse spelling words that students need in testing and in other places incorrectly.  That is why I went with “Customary Catsup” instead of “Kustomary Ketchup.”  My kids need to see these words spelled correctly.
Your students can use the Customary Catsup to practice their customary measurement and the Metric Mustard to practice their metric measurement.
I also included a spot on the recording sheet to extend students thinking…mean, median and mode.  I may just add range…again…for giggles.  It’s great practice either way.

I am always on the lookout for great concept stations that allow students to practice those skills and strategies that are taught at the very end of the year.  In the math series my district uses, that means measurement and probability.  However, our state tests are administered in November, so that means that these concepts usually test a bit low.  MAP testing also has quite a bit of probability and measurement…again…if these concepts aren’t covered early on, it’s a bust.

So I just thought that I’d put together an engaging (technical meaning:  fun!) way for my third graders to practice their measurement skills.  I’ve never been a big fan of giving a kid a ruler and then sending them out to measure arbitrary objects or practicing on drawings on a math worksheet…so this little station will fit the bill nicely.

Not only that…it’s actually fun!  I tested it on my soon-to-be-seventh-grader and he couldn’t keep his hands off of it!  His comment:  “Why don’t we get to do cool stuff like this in algebra?”  (That’s a challenge, by the way!)

Noah came up with a ton of great game ideas that could be played after completing the center sheet that you’ll find here.  My suggestion would be to run this sheet as a 2-sided paper or laminate one of these and use with a Vis-a-Vis marker or dry erase.

As for Noah’s game ideas:  why not try to have 2 students “duel” and see who comes closest to 6 inches?  Noah also suggests have students try to come up with the shortest measurement squeeze or the longest. I’m sure there are plenty more where this came from.  If you have any ideas, I’d love to hear them!

Thanks for checking out my blog and this goofy goofy post!  And remember…if you are taking the time to make one of these for yourself, why not take time to make a second for your teaching partner?  (My new third grade partner, Megan, has no idea what’s coming her way!)  And while you are at it…make a third for a wonderful teaching buddy…like the Wonderful Linda (my mentor and fourth grade partner!).

This was actually super-cheap and really easy to do…so why not make a few extra?  I’m sure your teaching pals will RELISH the opportunity to use a center like this in their classrooms too!  (Sorry…had to do that!)

Happy Happy Monday!



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