Recycle, Reuse: Country Time Lemonade Containers & Film Containers

I have a book called Tasks Galore and the task I will share in this post is, to be sure, a riff on a task found in that book. Credit where credit is due and all that. I have modified my taks and made it a little sturdier and, as always, I have used recycled materials to accomplish my task. 

The task is a simple sequencing or sorting task–it just depends upon what you want to accomplish with your students. It is flexible and can easily be modified to suit your needs. Here is a picture of the completed task.

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The materials you will need are as follows:

1. One shoebox

2. Three Countrytime Lemonade containers (minimum)

3. At least six empty film containers w/lids

4. Six plastic counting bears (or other manipulatives of your choice. I used six because that is the six basic colors available.)

5. A few brass fasteners; rubber cement; tape.

Step one is to wrap the plastic film canisters in colorful paper that matches the color of the manipulatives you have chosen. That's why I use the counting bears. There are six basic colors which makes choosing colors easy. 

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Next, you will want to secure the lids of the lemonade canisters to the lid of the shoebox. I turn the lids upside down and using the rubber cement to secure them to the shoebox. While they are securing, I punch a hole in the center and addd another layer of security by pushing a brass fastener through. Now, I push the brass fastener from the top of the shoebox so that the part that gets folded down is actually inside the lemonade lid. Note: only fasten two of the lids to the shoebox lid. The third lemonade lid will remain loose so it can be screwed back on top of the lemonade containter where you will store all of your manipulatives when the task is not in use. 

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In the above picture you can see the fasteners attached to the outside of the lid. At this point, your project should look like the picture below.

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The third step is to wrap the larger part of the lemonade container with a picture of a 'stop' sign. It's not terribly difficult. You can see the sample in the first picture. This will alert the students to the fact that 'this is where the task ends.' You can use different words besides 'stop'. 

That's about it as far as assembly is concerned. When it's all assembled, you can store all manipulatives and parts inside the shoebox. In the picture below you can see how everything fits nicely inside the shoebox for easy storage. (You can also see the brass fasteners. For an extra layer of protection, I cover the fasteners with tape.)

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The final step, then, is simply to open up the task and let the students get busy working. What I like about this task is that it is easily manipulated to form other sorting or sequencing tasks. Here is how the task is set up:

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 You can't see them very well, but in the third lid is the smaller lids for the film canisters. The task follows three steps:

1. Choose a colorful canister.

2. Choose a matching colorful bear.

3. Put the bear inside the film canister.

4. Put the smaller lid on the canister.

5. Place the canister inside the 'stop' container. 

It's a simple task that I use with my students who have autism or other developmental disabilities. And again, you can alter the task to suit your needs: create less steps; create more steps; change colors; etc. 

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This is a fun task for students and it also manages to find a way to recycle stuff that might otherwise end up in a local landfill. 

Thanks to Tasks Galore for the inspiration. Enjoy the task. If you use it and make modifications, please let me know what they are so I can incoporate them into my own version of the task. 

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