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Main Curriculum Tie:
Millions to Measure, by David M. Schwartz; ISBN 0-688-12916-1
Background For Teachers:
The metric system is based on powers of ten. This makes calculations and conversions simple. The prefixes are used across the measurement types to denote the magnitude, or power of ten of the measurement.
Intended Learning Outcomes:
3. Reason logically, using inductive and deductive strategies and justify conclusions.
4. Communicate mathematical ideas and arguments coherently to peers, teachers, and others using the precise language and notation of mathematics.
There are so many things that we measure every day using the metric system. Pre-assess what your students know about this measurement system by having them brainstorm terms related to metric measurement. Have students work in cooperative groups of two to four students. Students should write each item on a separate Post-It® note. Allow three to five minutes for this activity.
Ask students to come up with a way to group or classify the items on their Post-It® notes. Sort the Post-It® notes into columns of like items and attach them to a sheet of poster paper for each group to display. Write a heading for each column created. Some possible headings students might use include length, capacity, volume, mass, weight, or temperature. Take time to have groups share their methods of classification. It is possible that there may be some items in columns that are not mathematically accurate. Be sure to clear up any misconceptions as needed. Leave the classification posters created by the groups hanging up in the room for future reference.
(NOTE: The activities outlined in Instructional Procedures are intended to be taught sequentially. They will take several lessons/ days to complete with students.)
Peterson, Shelley Stagg. Teaching content with the help of writing across the curriculum. Middle School Journal, November 2007, Vol. 39, Number 2, p26-33.
This study investigated the value of “discovery writing,” a type of writing in which students have some control over the format, topic, purpose, and audience, to “staccato writing,” a type of writing with little or no control such as filling in blanks, copying notes from the board, and short answers to questions, in the content areas. The author found that student control led to greater understanding of content area concepts. “Discovery writing” required greater concentrated attention to sorting through and making sense of ideas on the part of the learner.
Tomlinson, Carol Ann. Differentiating instruction. Middle Ground, August 2005, Vol. 9, Number 1, p12-14.
The author gives guidelines to help teachers use differentiation. Teachers must have “clear learning goals that are rich in meaning and provide various avenues and support systems to maximize the chance of each student succeeding.” Through specific examples such as pre- assessment, meeting with small groups, using multiples presentation and teaching modes, creating differentiated homework, scaffolding reading, and allowing varied learning products, the author concretely helps teachers to provide for the diversity of learners in the classroom.
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