Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Investigating How to Convert Units of Mass

Learning to convert units of mass is an important skill we will need to understand to have successful enquiries later in our measuring mass unit so we all investigated these as a class today, but differentiated to cater to our varying levels of understanding.

We began quite simply by looking at 1kg equalling 1 000 grams and we remembered that kilo means thousand.

So, then 0.4kg is 400 g.  But why?

In our class we know well now that in maths when we understand the why, we really understand and that hows in maths aren't nearly as important.

I was curious how this question would pan out and was surprised by all the different responses we shared.

So, why is 04kg = 400 g?

Below are our ideas:

Some very interesting and logical maths reasoning took place.

We played a little bit together converting grams, tonnes, kilograms together.

Then, to differentiate and make this more enquiry-based learning, the children chose units of mass to convert of their own choice.  They investigated their own questions and shared their discoveries with their table partners.

Chatter about place values, base 10 number system, moving decimals etc were heard as they eagerly shared what they had discovered.  We published our investigations on post it notes and will examine them more closely as a whole class tomorrow. (Samples below)

What made this successful I think is that each child had ownership of their own learning and were given an opportunity to enquire into their own questions using their own mathematical logic and reasoning skills. Quite a lot really went far with their thinking and attempted to convert nanograms into grams and tonnes!