Thursday, December 6, 2012

Planting the Seeds

One thing I want to do more of is cross-unit projects. I would like to start a project in one unit, and be able to use the same thing for further learning in the next unit.

Act 1
Way back in September I had my students try something I knew way way over their heads, but I wanted to see how they would tackle a challenge. I asked them to make a sphere with these geometric shapes I have.

All in all they did a good job. After all, they are only in first and second grade.

The first group was generally in going in the right direction by making a box-type thing. Their problem was that it was too heavy and kept falling in on itself.

The second group started making their sphere using hexagons using the theory that the hexagons were close to circles. (I was hoping they picked them because soccer balls have hexagons on them.)

This group ran into the same sides-were-too-heavy problem that the first group I described ran into, but they got to that point faster than the other group. At this point I asked them what was wrong - the sphere keeps falling down. So I asked them what would help them. they didn't know so I suggested toothpicks.

As I was talking to my coworker about what was going on in my classroom, he suggested making a geodome with newspaper rolls.

My next math unit became geometry.

Act 2
From the seeds of the sphere challenge came a grander project. In our geometry unit, one of the projects of inquiry was to make the geodome. We were able to measure, find out that a triangle is indeed the strongest shape, collaborate, and accomplish something.

Act 3
After that was finished I had this huge structure in my room. One student suggested to make a house, but today, it was used as a prop in our play The Three Little Pigs.

Not exactly the type of connection I am looking to make, but it was good to have.

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