Saturday, April 13, 2024
Teaching Ideas for Leap Day

Teaching Ideas for Leap Day

by Mark Warner
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Ages: 5-11

Celebrate Leap Day (February 29th) with this enormous collection of ideas for your classroom!

You can download a free pack of Leap Day resources from our other site, Teaching Packs. Download them now.

Leap Day Teaching Pack

Teaching Ideas and Resources:

English:

  • Encourage students to create imaginative stories about magical leaps, time travel, or leaping animals.
  • Write leap year-themed poems using creative metaphors and rhymes.
  • Design some leap year themed bookmarks or book covers.
  • Write a diary entry about some unusual events that took place on Leap Day.
  • Find and define words that start with “L-E-A-P.”
  • Make a list of synonyms for the word ‘LEAP’. Can you write a sentence that includes each one?
  • Read folktales or myths from different cultures about Leap Year or extra days.
  • Write a story about a time machine that travels to February 29th in different years.
  • Write a persuasive letter to the editor of a newspaper arguing for or against the existence of leap year.
  • Research a famous person who was born on February 29th and give a presentation about their life.

Maths:

  • Explore the concept of leap years and how they affect our calendars. Calculate the number of days in a leap year. How many days are there in each month? Can you learn any special tricks or mnemonics to help you remember them? Here is a song that you can sing:

  • Design a game in which players have to answer Maths questions to ‘leap’ forward on the game board.
  • Calculate leap years (every four years except century years that aren’t divisible by 400). When is the next leap year? What are the next 20 leap years?
  • Design a leap year calendar.
  • Practice skip counting by 4s.
  • Make up some Leap Day themed word problems (based around the numbers 4, 29 and 366) to test your friends (e.g., if you leap every 4 seconds, how many leaps in a minute?)
  • Work out the total number of Leap Days a person has experienced based on their age.
  • Calculate how many leap years there have been since the year 1.
  • Figure out how many days you are older than someone who was born on the same day as you in a non-leap year.
  • If the last two digits of a number are 00, OR they are a number that is a multiple of 4 (such as 12 or 24), the number is exactly divisible by 4. This is the divisibility of 4 rule. Use dice, cards or a number generator to generate some 3, 4 or 5-digit numbers. Use the rule to work out if they are divisible by 4, then check by dividing them by 4.

Science:

  • Investigate gravity and its impact on leaping. Measure how high different objects can leap (or bounce).
  • Learn about frogs and their remarkable leaps. Create a life cycle diagram.
  • Learn about the earth’s rotation and revolution and why we have leap years.
  • Experiment with shadows throughout the day to observe the Earth’s rotation.
  • Create a simple water cycle to explain how nature also follows cycles, similar to leap years.

Computing:

  • Create a presentation to teach others about leap years and leap days.
  • Create a digital Leap Year quiz or trivia game.
  • Use coding to make a simple animation explaining the Leap Year.
  • Create an animation that illustrates the Earth’s orbit.
  • Create a spreadsheet that uses a formula to check whether a year is (or was) a leap year or not.

Design Technology:

  • Build simple paper rockets and launch them to see how high they can ‘leap’.
  • Use origami to make a leaping frog.
  • Design personalised Leap Year calendars with fun illustrations.
  • Make party hats, masks or costumes with a leap year theme.
  • Build a model of the solar system to demonstrate how the Earth’s orbit affects the calendar.
  • Design a device that could help you leap or jump higher.
  • Design and build a time capsule to be opened on the next Leap Day.
  • Create a model of a sundial or other device that can be used to track the passage of time.

Art:

  • Design frog or kangaroo masks to wear during the celebration.
  • Design leap year party cards.
  • Create a class mural showing the Earth’s orbit.
  • Create Leap Day time capsules with drawings and letters to open on the next Leap Day.
  • Design and craft leap year greeting cards.
  • Design a poster or banner to celebrate Leap Day.
  • Make a comic strip or storyboard about a character who experiences a leap year birthday.
  • Build a sculpture or model that incorporates the number 4 (leap years occur every 4 years).
  • Look at the work of sculptor Augusta Savage, who was born on 29th February 1892.

Music:

  • Write a catchy Leap Day song together. Sing and perform it.
  • Sing songs about months, days and years. Here is one example:

  • Learn and perform songs that involve jumping or leaping.
  • Create four beat rhythms by using body percussion or percussion instruments. Record your rhythm on a grid or musical stave.
  • Listen to some famous music that uses 4 beats to a bar (4/4 time), and encourage the children to clap along with the rhythm. This page has lots of ideas for music you could use.

Geography:

  • Explore different countries and cultures that celebrate Leap Day. Mark them on a world map.
  • Discuss time zones and how Leap Day affects timekeeping globally.
  • Design a flag or symbol to represent leap year.
  • Find out which local calendars are in use in different parts of the world.

History:

  • Create a timeline of important events that have happened on February 29th.
  • Write a biography of a famous person who was born on February 29th.
  • Discover historical leap year traditions.
  • Learn about Julius Caesar and the Julian calendar.
  • Research how calendars have changed over time.

Physical Education:

  • Organise a relay race where students take giant leaps.
  • Practice yoga poses inspired by leaping animals.
  • Have a leap day Olympic games.
  • Host a “leap” competition, seeing who can leap the farthest or highest.
  • Organise a relay race with leapfrog as one of the challenges.
  • Create a Leap Day dance routine focusing on leaping and jumping movements.
  • Create a physical activity routine that incorporates the number 4 (leap years occur every 4 years).

PSHE:

  • Discuss acts of kindness and encourage students to perform small leaps of kindness throughout the day.
  • Encourage students to set personal goals they wish to achieve by the next Leap Day.
  • Discuss the concept of patience and waiting, relating it to the four-year wait for a Leap Day.
  • Reflect on growth and changes in themselves since the last Leap Day and what changes they anticipate by the next one.
  • Discuss the concept of fairness and equality in relation to leap year birthdays. If you are born on 29th February, when should you celebrate your birthday in non-leap years?
  • Reflect on the importance of time and how we use it in our lives.

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