Saturday, 12 December 2015

Enquiry into Imperial v Metric Systems

As a provocation into the imperial / metric systems, we used the see-think-wonder routine with a partner based on this infographic and conversion chart:

This aroused a lot of curiosity amongst the children as they began seeing connections, got confused by other connections, questioned why and wondered, wondered, wondered........

They were hooked!

We then discussed with other partners what we had recorded in our see-think-wonder and then as a whole class.

Some samples:

Using this thinking-routine helped the children to:

° confirm connections and/or prior knowledge
° aroused curiosity
° helped construct meaning / understanding
° gave opportunities to create theories
° created a rich base for our enquiry 

We started discussing our theories about why such a big change in measuring systems.  To help construct this understanding I wrote:

                                         km       m      cm      mm

Partners had some time thinking about the connections between them. Students began explaining to us how we convert them.  

What did we notice?

- They are all base 10 numbers!  x 10  x 100  x 1000

Could this be the reason why the metric system was created?

After analysing the complexity of the imperial measurements, we felt that seemed very likely!

Some students extended & shared with us understandings further to discover how the metric system aligns with our base 10 number system:

We then consolidated our thoughts further to see how the metric system does align with our base 10 number system:

So, what do we want to find out?


° Which countries use the imperial and which the metric?

Such a great question, so we googled a map:

This created lots of questions!!

Some of our big questions we want to discover include:

° Why does America still use the imperial system?

° Who created the metric system?

° Is it confusing for Americans to use the imperial lengths when they need to convert?

° How do we know if a unit of measurement is imperial or metric?

° Are there other measurement systems used in the world?

With these, children will partner up and share their findings based on questions they want to discover.  

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