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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Measurement Misconceptions and Chapter 8 from "Math Stations"

One of the side benefits from math stations is the chance to explore an idea without worry of failure. In her book Debbie Diller states, "These stations should be based on measurement investigations done in whole-group instruction before moving the activities to independence."  So the following activity would be done in whole-group with more activities planned about the concept for the math stations.

This lesson is about the BIG IDEA of heavy and light. Just because an object is the same size it may be heavier or lighter.You can't always tell whether an object is heavy or light by just looking at it. Sometimes you need to feel the object or use a scale.

First I made 4 paper bag puppets of the 3 Little Pigs and the Wolf. The pigs relate this story about heavy and light to the children.

1). THE STORY BEGINS. . .Once upon a time, there were three little pigs. They were very fun loving and curious about the world. They decided to go off together and see the world. That was fun until fall signaled that winter would be coming soon, and they needed a warm, safe house for the winter. They decided they would each build their own house.

THE FIRST pig grabbed the first thing he saw- some straw from a field, and began to work to build his house. The first pig built his house quickly, as the straw was light and easy to pick up. He built his house in no time at all.

THE SECOND PIG thought that sticks would be heavier than straw, but might build a stronger house. He made a frame from the long sticks, and then tied the sticks to the frames to make the walls. Even though it was harder work, since the sticks were heavier than the straw, the pig was happy with his house.

THE THIRD PIG thought that the other pig's houses might not be strong enough when the winter winds began to blow. He thought that bricks would make a good, heavy house.
It took the pig a long time to build his house. He had to work very hard because each brick was so heavy. The third pig was very happy with his strong warm house.

2) Discuss the fact that in each of the 3 bags in front of you are the materials that the 3 pigs used to build their houses. One contains straw, another contains sticks, and the last contains a brick. All the bags are the same size. Will each of the bags weigh the same?
3.) Have one or two students pick up the bags and tell the class if they all weigh the same. If they don't, place the bags in the order from the least weight (light) to the heaviest weight (heavy). Why would the bags not weigh the same since they are all the same size?
4.  Dump the contents out in front of the class. Point out that each materials is about the same size. Should they weigh the same? Why or Why not?

5.) Now back to the story... SHOW THE WOLF PUPPET.  If you were a wolf like this one who can blow very, very, hard, what might happen if he huffed and puffed and tried to blow down the house of straw?  Discuss how light one piece of straw is that was used in building the house.

6.) Next, discuss what would happen if the wolf huffed and puffed and tried to blow down the house of sticks. Discuss how it weighs more than the straw, but is still quite light. Discuss how light one stick is that was used in building the house.

7.) Lastly, discuss the weight of one brick. Be sure to compare it to both the straw and the stick. Using the two cards labeled light and heavy, place down the card "Light" and then the straw, stick, brick, and lastly the card "Heavy."  Discuss how this display compares the weight of the 3 objects.

8.) Summarize: Can you tell the weight of an object by just looking at it? No, not if you have never tried to pick up that object before in your life. Once we have experience with feeling how light or heavy an object is, we can tell by just looking. Otherwise, we need to feel the weight or weigh it on a scale. If the objects are the same sizes, can they weigh different amounts? Can one object be heavier than another object the same size?


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