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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Measurement in 1st Grade

The math measurement standard for first graders requires students to:

'use units to describe length and illustrate that the length of an object is the number of same-size units of length that, when laid end to end with no gaps or overlaps, reach from one end of the object to the other'.

As I began to design lessons to support this standard, I tried to design work that would be integrated with other curriculum areas: Science and Engineering.

The first lesson involved building ramps and tracks then measuring how far a toy car traveled on a smooth surface (hallway tile) compared to a rough surface (classroom carpet). Scholars estimated, measured and subtracted to find the difference. They also collected data on length traveled using different ramp heights. I observed that, for the most part, scholars were able to successfully measure with like units, from end to end, with no gaps. We also had a great conversation about forces, friction and momentum.

So, I decided to issue a contraption building challenge with some measurement constraints. My class LOVES building challenges! I used Keva Blocks, wooden building blocks, Tinker Toys, K-Nex, Joinks, and these sphere and rod building materials I found in our campus STEM lab.

Here are some of the contraptions scholars built:

Here are some of the Popplets created to record learning:

Designing engaging work for scholars is challenging and definitely requires more of a time commitment but the payoff is total student engagement in a concept that might otherwise be a bit dull.

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