Thursday, October 23, 2008

Rockin' the Standards in Math

This week we learned a song about perimeter and area. Hopefully, this song will help us remember the difference between perimeter and area when we are working with these concepts.

We have some serious superstars! Wouldn't you agree?
-Miss Russell :)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Literary Pumpkin

On Friday the students made a literary pumpkin based on the book Planet Earth: Animals of Africa. Each year classes make literary pumpkins to celebrate our love of reading in a festive way. We chose this book because it represented our grade level theme, "Africa." We made one big pumpkin that represented the Earth and each student made their own little pumpkin representing an animal in Africa. The pumpkins turned out so cute! A HUGE thank you to Miss Young and Mrs. Nikki Colclough for developing such a great idea. The pumpkins will be displayed in the lobby for the rest of the week. Check them out!
-Miss Russell

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Flips, Turns and Area

This week we will be starting a new unit in math. The unit is called Flips, Turns and Area. This unit develops ideas in 2-D Geometry. The following describes the mathematical emphasis for each investigation.

Investigation 1—Motions with Tetrominoes

-Measuring area by covering a flat space with square units
-Finding systematically all possible geometric arrangements of a given number of squares
-Finding patterns for covering a space
-Comparing area of rectangles with different dimensions
-Describing physical motions in precise ways as a series of slides, flips, and turns
-Comparing two shapes to decide if they are congruent or not after using geometric motions—slides, flips, turns—to try fitting one shape exactly on top of the other

Investigation 2—Finding Area

-Measuring area by covering a flat space with square units
-Comparing the area of two shapes by determining if they cover the same amount of flat space
-Comparing shapes to see if they are congruent through motions such as rotation (turns) and reflection (flips)
-Exploring relationships among shapes; for example, a rectangle can be cut into two triangles, each of which is half the area of the rectangle
-Finding the area of complex shapes by cutting them into recognizable smaller units of area such as square units and half units

The following words are vocabulary terms that students will be expected to know by the end of the unit:

Area - The size of a flat surface measured in square units

Congruent - To be the same size and shape

Flip-To turn a figure over

Slide - To move a figure in any direction without rotating it

Turn - To rotate a figure in place

Students will find all of the possible arrangement of 4 squares. These types of shapes are called tetrominoes. Tetrominoes must have "full sides touching." Students will use these shapes to explore the concept of area.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sunshine Math Kickoff

Yesterday we had a Sunshine Math Kickoff. Sunshine Math is an extra math challenge that is offered to those students who would like an extra challenge in math. If students, are already overwhelmed with their regular school work than they can participate by being a cheerleader. The role of a cheerleader is encourage the "Mathletes" (Sunshine Math Participants) during their Sunshine Math adventure.
At the end of the school year, students who have turned in their Sunshine Math papers at least 80% of the time will have a chance to compete in a "Math Brawl" (competition). The winner of that competition will represent our school at the district competition.
Yesterday's pep-rally was a huge success! Here are some of the videos that the students saw yesterday during the pep-rally.
Miss Hoffmann and Miss Patterson:

Sunshine Math Singers:

Sunshine Math Cheerleaders:

All permission slips are due ASAP!!
What are your plans for Sunshine Math? Will you choose to be a Mathlete or Cheerleader?
-Miss Russell :)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Food Chain Fun!

This week in science we have been working on the relationship between plants and animals through food chains. Food chains show the flow of energy from one living thing to another. All food chains begin with energy from the sun. We also discussed the two types of living things: producers and consumers. There are 3 types of consumers: herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores. These are the main concepts that students learned this week:
-producers are living things that make their own food, (ex: plants)
-consumers are living things that eat other living things (ex: people, snakes, lions)
-herbivore-a consumer that eats only plants,
-carnivore-a consumer that eats only animals,
-omnivores-a consumer that eats plants and animals.
Students worked on making their own food chains in class.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Horray for the Open Array!

Today in class we worked on several student created multiplication and division story problems. One problem that we worked on was a multiplication story problem by Jacob. His story problem was: This year I recorded 12 hurricanes. Each hurricane dumped 8 inches of water. How many inches of water did the hurricanes dump in all? The students came up with many great strategies such a repeated addition, drawing pictures and using a ratio table.

During the closing meeting, I reminded the students that we can use arrays as models for solving small multiplication problems; but, we can also use them to solve larger multiplication problems. I drew a rectangluar array on the board with no columns or rows. I asked the students what numbers we could split the 12 into that are "easy to work with." Without hesitation, I got the answer "10 and 2." Perfect! Then I asked what we could split the 8 into that would be "easy to work with." Anna replied "4 and 4." Perfect again! I divided the rows into 4 and 4 (totaling 8) and I split the columns into 10 and 2 (totaling 12). We didn't draw all of the rows and columns because we decided that wouldn't be very efficient and we would probably get confused.

Now, we had four smaller arrays with dimensions that were very easy to solve. Once we were done finding the products of each small array we added them together and VIOLA! we had our answer!

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Open Array strategy because it will create a better of understanding of the traditional multiplication algorithm when we are ready for that strategy. Today was the first day with this strategy. We will be using it a lot more in the future. Thanks for reading!

If you are interested in more information about this strategy please visit the math strategy videos, look under the Multiplication heading and click "Generic Rectangle." (Generic Rectangle and the Open Array are the same thing.)
-Miss Russell :)