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.

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