Monday, November 30, 2015

Fraction Kits

This week we made fraction kits. This kit is a great tool for students to use to explore the relationship between fractional pieces. As we made it, we discussed how we were making it. "I'm taking one whole and folding it into two equal pieces. What have I made?" "Now I am taking one whole and folding it into two equal pieces, then folding it again to half all those pieces. What have I made?" etc.

After we made the kits and discussed them, we played a game where we have to roll a fraction die and try to cover our entire whole before our partner covered theirs. This lead to some great discussion about how much they had left after each roll.

Next we played a game where we started with our whole covered by two halves and rolled the die to try to uncover the entire whole before our partner. They were responsible for exchanging their halves for the pieces they need. For example, if they rolled 1/16, they had to exchange a half for a combination that still equaled a half but included at lease one 1/16 piece so they could remove it.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Our Earth's Natural Resources

This week we discussed Earth's natural resources. A resource is anything used by man. Natural resources are resources that are not man-made. We cannot make more.

The students read an article and made a flip book detailing the difference between a renewable resource and a non-renewable resource. Renewable resources replace themselves in our lifetime. Non-renewable resources, such as fossil fuels, cannot be replaced in our lifetime.

We also discussed why it is important to conserve both renewable and non-renewable resources.

Outside of a foldable
Inside of a foldable

Monday, November 2, 2015

Plant Growth in Different Soils

We planted radish seeds (because they sprout quickly) in gravel, topsoil, sand, and clay and then we observed them every day for five days. Gravel, sand, and topsoil all sprouted, while clay had no growth at all. We noticed the topsoil sprouted faster than gravel and sand. We also observed the topsoil had the healthier-looking sprouts. Gravel's sprouts were a bit brown in color, and sand's sprouts were more withered. The kids were surprised the seeds grew in gravel and sand! We discussed that gravel and sand were not providing as much nutrients as the topsoil, hence the pitiful sprouts. Also, clay didn't produce plant growth because it is too packed together to allow roots to grow. We concluded topsoil was the best soil with regards to plant growth.

Division without Dividing?!?!

Today we began division. I always get my kids' attention by telling them I'm going to teach them how to divide without division. They never believe me, but it doesn't take long for them to figure out where I'm going. We use multiplication to divide! After all, multiplication is way more fun than division, right? ;)

We begin with numbers that have no remainder, such as 348 divided by 2. We start by taking out easy groups of 2, perhaps 100 groups of two. 100 groups of 2 would be 200, so we subtract 200. Then we can take another 50 groups of 2, which is 100, away from our number. Next we take out 20 groups of 2, which is 40. Finally, we can take out 4 groups of 2, or 8, to get to zero. After we do this a few times, the kids make the connection they can take bigger groups out and save themselves a few steps. Instead of taking 50 groups of 2 and then 20 groups of 2 out, we could have just taken out 70 groups of 2. We continue to take out groups until we can no longer take any more. Once what is left is smaller than our divisor, we have taken out all the groups we can. I have two examples here, One with a remainder and one without. I've tried to color-code them so they make sense.