Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Measuring Puddles!

 It is that time of year!  Puddles are everywhere. I used this opportunity to introduce the measurement topic in Math class.  Students arrived in the morning with a big piece of paper on their tables where I had drawn a big puddle.  They were given the task to measure their puddle!

 After a few seconds, some kids started heading for the meter sticks and rulers that we have in our classroom.  We have a big ball of string in our room that we are using for an Art project and I said that it may come in handy too.  It was exciting to watch the cooperative measuring and recording that happened next!  It was a chance for me to see what prior knowledge the students will bring to the study of measurement.  As I suspected, there was lots of measuring talk with "inches" and "feet" but with a bit of prompting, they remembered earlier work on "centimetres"and "metres".

How we could use the string was discussed as a group and it was compared to having to build a snow fence around the puddle to keep kids out!  Most of the groups have 4 members and all the hands were needed to hold the string down and then lay it along a metre stick.  The word "perimeter" was introduced and measurements were compared between the tables.

We made a list of some of the ways a real puddle could be measured.    We will return to this activity over the unit to help us think about units and measurement.  We will also work on the concept of area and how it differs from perimeter. Another way to measure is mass but we thought weighing the water in a puddle would be hard!
 I suggested to the students that they might want to try this activity at home as well.  Someone suggested that the depth of a puddle can be measured with rubber boots!  A great connection!

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