Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Measurement Investigations

Lead In:

We began by reading this fabulous picture book together: 'Counting on Frank' by Rod Clement. 

I've used this book for classes from Year 2 up to my current Year 6 class and have found all those age ranges absolutely love the silliness and creative thinking involved.  In the story, the lead character has a lot of mathematical curiosity and enquires into questions he wonders about such as how many metres would it take for a pen to run out of ink or how many humpback whales could fit in his house.

We discussed what PYP Learner Profile and Attitudes he was demonstrating and together came up with strategies he might have used to solve his mathematical wonderings.  A lot of discussion kept leading back to the importance of estimating as a key maths strategy and so we made a note of that on our board to remind us that this will be key to our own investigations.


Being inspired by the story, we then created our own mathematical investigations.  The children were able to use their laptops to find out the measurements of things they wanted to investigate suchs as the height of the Eiffel Tower, the mass of Mercury, the volume of a blue whale, the length of the Great Wall of China, the surface area of the times on the Sydney Opera House etc.

How many blue whales could fit inside the Earth      What is the mass of Mercury in grams?
and the Sun?

How many rashes of bacon would equal the      How many monarch butterflies equals the same 
the same mass as the Statue of Liberty?          the same mass as 25 marbles?                                                                     

How many bricks have the same mass as the       How many African male elephants could fit 
Eiffel Tower?                                                   inside the Palace of Parliament in Bucharest?               


Before publishing their investigation, the children grouped themselves into groups of 4 and shared their question and the strategy they used.  In their sharing, they sought feedback of the strategies they used and discussed whether there are other possible strategies they could have used instead to solve the question.


They took a publishing paper home to visually portray their investigation and were given a peer assessment rubric based upon two PYP Learner Profile attributes:

° Communicator:  Ability to clearly communicate the mathematical thinking and strategy used

° Risk-Taker:  Choosing an investigation that will challenge thinking based upon reflecting on one's maths abilities


In our reflection discussion, we shared how we enjoyed the playfulness or silliness of our investigations. We felt it made maths fun and it also helped us to think that there are sometimes more than one strategy we can apply when trying to solve a maths problem.  One child suggested when we do another maths unit involving measurement, we should read this book again and do another investigation.  

Sounds like a great idea! :)

No comments:

Post a Comment

What do you think? ...........