Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Week 1, Marlborough School

Introductions, scale activity

Today was our first day.  Oh My!  The plan was to introduce ourselves and everyone else, introduce the game and what the kids might expect from this program through the year, make mini rulers, discuss scale, break into groups and do the scale activity.  It is hard to know where to really begin.  I suppose it begins with me/the school sort of dropping the ball.  When I arrived at the school I began by setting things aside for the scale activity and getting out materials that I thought we would need.   This was mostly fine.  In the future, I really should do that at home and have separate bags for each group’s items.   The first ball that was dropped and I should anticipate happening again, was that the kids staggered into my class.  So much for introductions!  They came in three waves, ugh. 

Next I invited a student to come up and tell the class what village is and what they might expect to happen this year.  In the future I should actually plan what I am going to tell them about the game and its goals with key points written on note cards or something.  I was extremely nervous which I wasn’t planning on and I think I may have forgotten some key points.  I should lead the intro discussion and have students add to it because they are only going to share what they have gotten out of the program in the past and these experiences are specific and unique.

 Next we labeled our rulers, I brought in twenty 18” rulers (made from wooden yard sticks cut in half, with masking tape covering the numbers), this activity went fairly well…. I don’t think I would change it at all.  Well, I didn’t have an accurate class count, so I didn’t have enough rulers for everyone, however, the kids did fine with this.  Next the students split themselves into groups and each group sent one representative to gather the items for the scale activity.  Among the items for each group were actual peeps and toys representing things that would be too big, too small, or right size for village.  Groups were asked to use their rulers and the peeps to decide what the “right size” was.  When each group was finished they walked around to look at what the other groups had come up with.  Next I had the students bring up everything that was “right” size and place it on one floor tile; then the too big and too small things.  We stood around the three piles and I asked if they agreed with the placement of the objects.  The first thing that caused a stir was a model fighter jet.  The students felt that it belonged in all three piles.  I asked them, “does anyone know about how big, in actual feet, a real fighter jet is?”  Many students raised their hand and shared guesses ranging from 60 to 190 feet in length with similar measures for wing span.  We then measured the model in mini feet with our new rulers and found that it was about 30 minifeet.  It turns out the model fighter jet was too SMALL!  This was a surprise to many students.  We did this for several more objects.  This led into a discussion on proportion when the students pointed out an action figure.  The action figure measured (with her hat) about 7 minifeet… which is about the right size for village.  However the action figure looked wrong for village.  We stood the action figure next to a peep.  Definitely looked wrong!  The kids said that the action figure’s head was too small.  I measured my head, I measure the peep’s head, and I measure the action figure’s head.  I turns out that peeps are not in proportion, the doll was, which is why the doll did not look right size.  We were still on this activity (although we had exhausted it by this time) when the bell rang for the next class.  If more time were wanted on this topic, it could be expanded to having the students regroup the items according to proportion.

Today we used/learned:  scale, proportion, estimation

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