Sunday, January 25, 2015

My Latest: Popcorn, Summer Camp, and Hands-on Math

and a tutorial for the newspaper cubes that the kids made to give them hands-on experience in calculating volume

The newspaper pillars are tricky to build with, as they present a whole host of build challenges just for that material. Once I stepped in just to hold parts until they'd been supported, so that both kids could focus on the engineering and construction, the project was much less frustrating for them. A much easier material to work with would be balsa wood posts, but that would go against my desire that the kids complete the project simply with what they had to hand.

It would be interesting to try this again in nicer weather, when it can be prefaced by a stick hunt in the woods, and then we can see if sticks are easier than newspaper pillars, or if the bends and waves in sticks will just make them a different type of challenging material to build with.

For now, however, it's no matter. Will, who prior to this couldn't quite work out why volume is calculated the way that it is, now has the concept down cold. Tomorrow, then, she leaves geometry behind for a while and returns to fractions.

Fractions, I think, will also be a very hands-on unit. So many pies! So many Cuisenaire rods! So many coins and counters and puzzles and graphs!

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