Make Your Own Fun Chicken-Wire Board to Help Students Learn Numbers and Colors : Active Learning
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"I hear and I forget.  
I see and I remember.  
I do and I understand."
~ Chinese proverb
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~John Goodland
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~ Plutarch 
"Learning is an active process. We learn by doing. Only knowledge that is used sticks in your mind." 
~ Dale Carnegie

Make Your Own Fun Chicken-Wire Board to Help Students Learn Numbers and Colors

by First Stage Publishing Company on 03/25/14

While living in the rural country of California, I wanted to use recycled items to creatively teach numbers and patterns to the children in my kindergarten classes.  To teach these concepts I created a work board with some cardboard and chicken-wire (the kind used for raising pets and plants).

Using chicken-wire, a piece of paper, and crayons, young students can learn numbers and practice creating color patterns.  They exercise small hand muscles and use math and language skills with this fun board.  This activity meets the California Curriculum Standards for Language Arts 1.3 and 1.17, Visual Arts 1.0 (color and space), and Math 1.0.

Vocabulary Learned: Patterns, hexagon, horizontal, vertical; blue, yellow, green, purple, and other color words.

Materials to Make the Board:   

  • Chicken-wire: available from hardware stores or recycle spare pieces
  • Wire cutters to cut the chicken wire: 9" x 12"
  • Needle Nose Pliers to turn the ends of the wire 
  • Heavy cardboard: 9" x 12" (Recycle and reuse a box)
  • Stapler to attach the wire to the cardboard
  • Duct tape to secure the wire to the cardboard, make sure it covers any pointed ends of the chicken-wire

Preparation for Creating a Chicken-Wire Board: Start by folding the ends of the chicken wire under for safety.  Next, staple the chicken wire to the cardboard frame and use the duct tape to secure the wire to the cardboard.

Making a Worksheet Rubbing with the Chicken-Wire Board:

  • Your newly made chicken-wire board
  • Blank paper
  • Jumbo crayons with wrapping removed (use crayons that have already been broken)
  • Clips to hold the paper to the board                                 

Activity & Instructions for using the Chicken-Wire Board:   

Place a sheet of blank paper  over the chicken-wire grilled surface and secure it with clips.  Rub a black or dark color crayon both horizontally then vertically over the metal surface to create a rub-on hexagon pattern worksheet. 


Remove the paper from the board and use a different color crayon to color each set.  For example, when emphasizing the number 3, fill in three hexagons with one color.  Then use a second and/or third crayon to color three adjacent hexagons.  Continue coloring patterns in sets of two. 


Refer to Piaget’s Theory of Conservation to determine which number the student should focus on.  To learn more see our previous blog, “Teaching Piaget’s Theory of Conservation with Buttons, Bugs, Birds, and More!”  This activity can be repeated many different ways, allowing the students to color new patterns of a specific number.  For example, 3 adjacent hexagons can make a triangular shape, and 4 hexagons make a squarish shape, or a vertical or horizontal line.


For fun, have the students create various unique number/color patterns, I am always pleasantly surprised by all the creative ideas the children come up with.

Take It Further: Some other fun activities using the board are to color-in, outline, or insert numerals, letters, pictures or symbols into the hexagonal spaces using the color number patterns. For example, your child could color triangles, squares, or circles in three adjacent hexagons.


© Ruth Velasquez, First Stage Publishing Company

* For more hands-on art activities focusing on language arts, math, science, social studies, and visual arts aligned with the California Cirriculum Standards for Kindergarten, see the First Stage publication ART Really Teaches 

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