Learning with a light table is a fun way to let little learners play to learn. By tying in math and reading skills your students are already learning about, you will find them working on learning activities on their own. Here are some examples of ways to increase learning activities with your light table.
Let me start by telling you that my light table isn’t fancy or high-tech. I use a shallow, clear plastic tub with a white lid. Why? It was a container I already had. I use a LED battery-operated camping light that uses AA batteries. I simply flip the container onto its cover to use it upside down and place the camping light inside it. This means that I have a light table for less than $10, including the batteries.
I would love to have a nice, fancy light table. I have been eyeing this Lakeshore Light Table. It is expensive but so cool so for now, I am using my $10 camping light table.
Light Table Accessories
You can use simple, easy-to-find, and cheap items to make amazing activities for your students. Look for supplies at grocery stores or on Amazon, I have used Amazon links here to help. Try to find items that are clear or translucent as well as cheap. Many items in the alcohol section like clear shot glasses and cocktail stirrers. I also found small clear plates, neon straws, and to-go sauce containers in the paper product section. I also found the neon green ruler in the school supply area.
Learning with a Light Table: Ten Frame Activities
Ten frames are a staple in lower elementary classrooms. I found a way to create this ten-frame mat and open-ended math activity.
First, I took a run through a sheet of lamination empty. Then I used black Washi tape to create a ten-frame. I used Washi tape because it is what I had on hand and I knew I could peel it off and reapply to get it to the right size easily. You could also use painter’s tape as well.
Now my students have a fun way to complete addition and subtraction equations in a fun way. I have also heard them making up verbal word problems to each other and using the ten frames to help them “figure out” the answer.
Here is another look at this fun game! I also think you could make a number line with the tape and use the cups to hop up and down the number line to answer math problems.
Learning with a Light Table: Tens and Ones
Next, I took some neon straws I found. I kept many the same but I took others and cut them up into 10 ones. Now my students have parts of a whole as well as counting pieces. We can use these as counting rods to make sets of 10, addition and subtraction equations, and so much more.
I honestly didn’t love the bendable part of this straw. If I was preparing this activity over again, I would have cut the straws off at the bendable part and made that the set of ten. Next, I would have used the same part of the straw to make the sets of ones as well.
Learning with a Light Table: Addition Equations
I cut the equation into two pieces and apply them to the neon shot glasses.
Learning with a Light Table: CVC Word Building
This activity is a huge hit! I use the clear plates to create CVC words. This activity only needs clear plastic plates and Sharpies.
Start this learning light table activity by writing one vowel with a red sharpie in the middle of a plate. Then, I take a blue Sharpie to write consonances to make words. Be strategic with your letter choice. I want my students to make as many words as possible.
Next, I place the pieces on the light table and let your students layer the plates to create words. Here is an example of how this activity comes together.
Learning with a Light Table: Building Words
For this activity, take those clear shot glasses again and your Sharpies. I flip them over so I can write on the bottom of them. I chose to write my vowels in red, my consonances in blue, and then my digraphs in green.
Now my little learners can use the cups to build words!
Here is a glimpse of my who light table in action along with a cool set of letter-building pieces I own from Learning Resources called Letter Construction Activity Set. I use these Letter Construction pieces at the beginning of the year to make sure we can form our letters. We also use them to build sight words! And YES they also have a Number Construction Activity Set you can grab here.