Friday, April 1, 2011

Coke Bottle Fun!

Recently, I saved some 12 oz. Coke bottles and made these sensory bottles for my 2 1/2 year old.  She loves them, and when we were playing with them it made me think...what else could I use these bottles for?  The sensory bottles were so easy (and cheap!) to make.  I started thinking of ways you could do something similar for the classroom.  Here are some ideas I came up with:


  • Any kind of bottles would be great for working on those science observation skills.  Fill them with anything you have around, and have your students make observations about what they see.  How does the liquid move?  What colors do you see?  What is the state of the matter inside?  Which ones make sounds when you shake them and why?
  • If you are studying animals, you could make different animal habitats inside the bottles, and have the children talk about what animal would live inside.  Or, put some food that different animals would eat in each one and have them guess who would want to eat that bottle.  What a great hands-on activity without the mess!
  • Make some bottles together, with different types of liquids.  Talk about which mix and which don't.  Talk about what floats in each one.  I found another lesson idea here.  Or, if you want to do a cool density lesson, check this one out!
  • You could also work on classifying, by using bottles with different things in them and classifying them according to their contents.
  • To compare types of soil, put a different type in each bottle.
Social Studies
  • You could place a rolled piece of paper in each bottle with different descriptions on them, so that the descriptions are visible on the outside.  
  • You could describe people, and have the kids name them.  
  • You could describe places, and have the kids place the bottles on a big map.  
  • You could describe events, and have the kids put the bottles in chronological order.  This is great for kinesthetic learners!
  • For young learners, these are great for teaching numbers.  Simply put a different number of objects in each bottle, and put a sticker with the number of objects on the outside.  This is great for comparing!
  • Put small objects of a certain shape inside, and have the kids tell what shape the bottle contains.
  • You could write math word problems on paper and roll the paper up so the problems are visible from the outside.  Then, the kids can solve them.  Number the tops of the bottles with the problem number.
  • Give the kids bottles with different numbers of items in them.  Have them create their own word problems from the bottles!
  • Fill the bottles with different amounts of sand (or even use a variety of things!).  Have the kids predict how much each bottle weighs, and then weigh them.
  • These bottles make great estimation jars!  Fill with a different item each month, and have the kids estimate how many things are inside.  For even more fun, wash them well and fill with candy...whoever guesses how many pieces are inside can keep the candy!  Or, for homework, give each person an empty bottle to fill at home.  Have them bring their bottles in the next day for classmates to guess how many items are inside.
  • Make up a multiplication game!  Give each student (or group) a bottle with a different number of items inside.  They have to tell how many items would be in a 2-pack, 3-pack, etc. of bottles.
  • For place value, could 100 ones blocks fit in a bottle?  I'm not sure.  But, it would actually be neat to get a larger sized bottle to fit them in.  Then, you could do a bottle with 10 and a bottle with 1.  This would help the children visualize place value better.
  • You could give the kids empty bottles to fill at home, and then make different kinds of graphs with the results.
Language Arts
  • You could fill the bottle with different items, pass them out, and have the children write stories to go with what's in the bottle.
  • Give each child a bottle, and have them write a descriptive paragraph about their bottle using as many adjectives as possible.
  • They could write poems about their bottles!
Can you tell I'm excited about these bottles?  I just love the idea of making something once, and being able to use it over and over!  I hot-glued the tops onto my bottles, and then I wrapped them in electrical tape so they are totally sealed.  This is something you could do, and you'd have the bottles for your lessons from year to year.  How about you?  Do you have any other ideas for ways to recycle something into a great lesson tool?

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