My most recent presentation was on the mystery bag: coins. This is the second mystery bag in my classroom. The first is a draw string bag in which the children place the typical items - bell, comb, pinecone, eraser, etc. The children generally enjoy this work. It is one of the first materials used to introduce the use of the blindfold to the children. *Note: Part of the lesson on how to use a blindfold includes placing a tissue over the back side of the blindfold and therefore between the child's eyes and the cloth as a precaution of spreading eye infections. The tissue is discarded after the child's use and never shared with another child.
After taking out each of the coins and examining them without a blindfold so as to be reminded of each coins characteristics, the child places all of the coins back into the purse/mystery bag.
A blindfolded student carefully feels the ridge of a quarter before naming and classifying it.
Slowly, I draw one coin out at a time and, in an exaggerated way, I feel the coin and identify highlights like a ridged edge (quarter), thickness or size. After I place all of the coins on the working rug, I take out the blindfold and position the tissue. Next, I return the coins to the largest pocket inside the purse.
Carefully, I place the blindfold over my head and cover my eyes. With purposeful movement, I pull one coin out from the pocket. I turn it over and over in my hand. I rub my fingers along its edge. I trace the circumference of the coin with one of my fingers. I pause for a silent moment and then say the name of the coin, "Quarter." With the blindfold still covering my eyes, I place the coin out in front of myself and reach into the purse for another. I know that there are four of each coins placed inside the purse because I put them there myself. I count each coin until collectively I have sixteen placed on the rug in front of me. Next, I remove my blindfold and give a look of amazement at my work. The children love to see me do work. They also love to see me use the blindfold. That act alone secures my audience.
After I do this initial presentation, I hand each child a coin and ask the them to place the coins on the rug in front of them. I need to see what they have in order to ask for it. I then go from one child to the next asking for a quarter, a nickel, a dime or a penny. Ex. "Sam would you please hand me a quarter." After all of the coins have been returned, I place each face up on the rug for the next part of the lesson. I now ask each of the children, individually, the names of specific coins. "Sam, what is the name of this coin?" I ask pointing to a quarter.
Next I start to put the coins, one at a time, back into the purse while singing, "Goodbye quarter! Goodbye quarter! We'll see you another day." I do this with every coin until there are none left. This is an adapted version of a three period lesson.
A magical moment: This student spontaneously started adding the coins and doing math with them while wearing her blindfold. "5 cents plus 5 cents is 10 cents," she said. She counted and added until she had all of the coins back inside the purse/mystery bag. Wow!!!