Monday, November 29, 2010

Measurement Unit! A Sneak Preview

I am starting the Measurement Unit! yay. :) (Starting this week, to be finished in January, after the midterms.)

I did this unit with my kids last year, and it was where my whole outlook on the Geometry curriculum sort of started to turn around. (I had really dreaded my first few months of teaching Geometry last year...)

I'll write more about the revised lessons as they unfold, but the order goes more or less like this (modelled after last year's sequence):

* Day 1: Intro to measurement. What quantities can we measure? How do we convert between units? (Including move-around activity for measuring quantities around the classroom.)

* Day 2: Indirect measurement of height. How can we measure an object's height using proportions and a mirror, or proportions and shadows? (Including outdoors activity portion)

* Day 3: Direct measurement of height. How can we accurately measure the height of a balcony using a string, a water bottle, and a meter stick? (Including group competition of results!)

* Day 4: Measurement of volumes. How can we measure/calculate the volume of a container shaped like a cylinder or prism? How can we predict how high water will rise once transfered to another container? (Including hands-on measurements and water transfer activity)

* Day 5: Conversions between liters and cm^3. How big is a liter? A cubic meter? How many liters of water will it take to fill up our classroom? (Including demo for transfering water from a one-liter bottle to a cube of 1000 cm^3 volume, plus move-around measurement of the classroom)

* Day 6: Measurement of irregular volumes, density, liquid density. (Stations activity - kids rotate around to measure: volumes of irregular containers via transfer of water; mass and volume of rocks via triple-beam balance and displacement of water; weight / volume / density of liquids. Also included discussion of net weight and "Gee whiz!" demo of how mixed liquids will separate based on liquid density.)

* Day 7: Reading about how the emperor measured the weight of the elephant, plus a bunch of conversion practice.

The big difference is that last year, we ended up doing a bunch of practice at the end of the unit, and also had little focus on estimation. This year, I will be pushing more estimation throughout the measurement processes, and also sprinkling / spacing out more of the conversion practice throughout the unit. :)

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