Monday, December 5, 2011

Scale Drawing {Mini-Project}

I LOVE this mini-project! I also love how it falls right before Christmas break to give the kids something to do during that "i-need-a-break" attitude that unfortunately accompanies any long break like Christmas or Summer.

- 1 class period (or longer if you want to extend)

- Comic Strips
- Card stock paper
- Rulers

I use this little mini-project to set the stage for when I teach more indepth about scale factors (which in my case is the next class day). Here's the procedure:

1. Assign for homework the day or weekend prior to bring in a comic strip. I assign a homework grade for this, but also have extra comics on hand incase someone forgets theirs.

2. Have students choose ONE frame to cut out and to enlarge for their scale drawing. I don't tell students what we are doing with the frame though as I don't want them choosing "easy" ones out of fear that they can't do it.

3. Students will construct a grid by measuring quarter inch squares along the width and length of the original comic. Remind them to use a RULER!!!

4. Tape or glue the comic to the upper left hand corner of the piece of card stock. This will be your "key" for checking.

5. Label the length and width with the number of boxes. Then create another box that is the same length and width, only using inches. i.e. if your original comic was 5 boxes long, then your neq box will be five inches long.  Mark off at every inch creating a similar grid out of inch squares.

6. Instruct students to then begin to COPY each box into the corresponding box of the larger grid. Remind them to use pencil for this.

7. Once complete, students will outline in black marker and then erase all pencil marks.

8. Color the comic as it is in the original.

9. Label the scale factor at the bottom. Laminate and set out for others to enjoy your talented students!

I love this project because it not only brings in the mathematical aspect, but it gives my students a confidence boost. Even if they think they cannot draw, at the end they see their finished project and it looks awesome!!!

Enjoy and share with your teacher friends! :)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Customary System {Activity}

When studying about the Metric System, I do a whole day for a fun math lab. But for Customary it's a bit different since the students are a lot more familiar with it and we need to reinforce it just a bit rather than go so in-depth with it. So after our notes about how to convert within the Customary system, I give my students a challenge:

Using NO scissors, glue, tape or staples and ONLY the ONE piece of construction paper, they have to create the most aerodynamic paper airplane that they can. They have to write their name on their plane as well. I give them FIVE MINUTES.

I show my students a yard stick and we talk about how many inches and feet are in there. Then I have them estimate how far their airplane will fly from our classroom. Since my classroom is on the second floor, I tell them that if it goes under the overhang, it counts as zero.

I write their names on the board along with their estimates and then we head out to let 'em fly!
I stand on the bottom floor and have students fly them 4 or 5 at a time, depending on my class size. Then I estimate using my yard stick how many yards the planes flew. I call out the numbers and they write them down. The student closest to their estimate gets a "small-but-fabulous-prize" and a student who's plane flew the furthest also gets one.

This activity is a fun break if you have a long class period like mine, but can also be expanded to encompass more Customary system activities.