Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Week 7, Marlborough School

October 25th 2011

Scouting for land, learning about area and perimeter

The plan was to choose the acre and hopefully string up the borders.  To prepare for this: last week we saw what an acre looks like, I brought 800ft of twine.  We began class discussing a mistake I made.  An honest mistake, but one that lead the way to learn about the relationships between area, perimeter and the number of sides or points a shape has.  Last week we learned that a square acre has about 200ft per side.  I took this knowledge home with me and remembered that longer pieces of string are very easily tangled and the last two times I have been witness to the stringing up of an acre, we had to cut and tie the string in many places. I decided to section off our string, rather than provide one piece that is 800ft long (should be 836ft for a more accurate measure).  I considered making four 200ft pieces.... but even better would be to have eight 100ft pieces right?!?  I briefly explained this to the class, with the end goal being that we could split into small groups and each group place a piece of string, making sure all pieces get tied together.  Can anyone tell me my mistake?  I had drawn a circle, square, triangle, and octagon on the board.  No one was really sure.  I pointed out that all of the shapes on the board had 800ft perimeters (however, they were not drawn to accurately or to scale, which the students noticed immediately!).  We already know that the square has an area of about 43,000 square feet and a perimeter of 800ft (200ft per side).  What do we think will happen if we take that 800 foot piece of string and make an equilateral triangle with it?  Each side will be about 266ft long.  Will that give us more or less area than the square with the same perimeter?  The class did a bit of murmuring and decided that it would probably be smaller.  Any guesses as to how much smaller?  Some numbers were thrown out the closest was 28,000 square feet.  Very close!  The actual area is about 30,600 square feet.  So if we strung up and 800ft perimeter triangle we would loose about a third of the land we are entitled to claim for our village.  Next we looked at the circle.  Do we think the circle will be smaller or larger?  Larger!  How much?  Several guesses were blurted out, the nearest being 50,000 square feet. The actual circle would be nearly 51,000 square feet.  How about this octagon, bigger or smaller than the square?  Bigger!  Bigger or smaller than the circle?  This shape gave us some trouble, some said smaller and others were sure it was bigger.  Any guesses as to the area of the octagon?  The nearest was 47,000 square feet.  The actual size is about 48,000 square feet.  So if we string up our acre using the eight strings I provided and create an octagon we will be claiming about 5000 extra square feet!  Does anyone know how big 5000 square feet is?  Well we measured the gym once and found out how many square meters it was.  How many?  I don't remember.    We established that we would be claiming a LOT of extra land and left it at that.

Onto the outdoors...
We grouped up in front of the school.  Did anyone find any land last week that they want to share with the rest of the group?  I found some near the cross country track, with a river going through it.  Hey, why don't we just build where we built last year?  I suggested that we look at last years site as it was closer, led by those who played last year.  We explored a bit and regrouped out by the pavilion.  We discussed some pros and cons regarding the site in the woods.  We moved on to the other site near the stream.  The kids were getting cold and having a hard time focusing on discussion at site number two, so we moved back out to the pavilion to discuss pros and cons for the stream site.  We then compared the two sites to each other.  I then had everyone who wanted the stream site to stand on one side, everyone for the woods on the other and those undecided in the middle.  There were eleven for the stream, eight for the woods and three undecided.  Now what are we going to do?  It was suggested that we have two villages and a civil war.  It was suggested that there was a third site that had many similar pros to the first two sites and fewer cons.  We ventured off one more time to a very nice site and began a pros and cons discussion.  Unfortunately the  bell rang at that time so we all had to hustle back to the school for the next class.

Next week I intend to continue this topic and hopefully select land.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Week 6, Marlborough School

Area Activity

October 18, 2011

   Today we did the acre lesson.  Our class was a bit smaller today as some students participated in the once a month Science club.  We still managed to have twenty kids though.  To prep for this lesson I looked up few acre facts, area in square feet: 43,560; length per side of a square acre: 208 feet, nine inches.  I also looked into the dimensions of a soccer field, thinking that it ought to be standard and perhaps we could use those measurements as a tool.  Soccer fields are anything but standard.  A middle school field may be 300 feet by 165 feet, totaling 49,500 square feet... but it may not be.  Note to self: measure to school fields and set aside info for later possible use.  I brought a fifty foot tape measure and a piece of side walk chalk with me for the lesson.
   I began the lesson sending any students who showed up without a jacket back to get one, it was 37 this morning!  When I had everyones attention I pointed to 43,560, which I has written very large on the board.  I asked the kids why this number was significant.  There were a few ideas, among them, the population of all peeps!  One student offered that it is the number of square feet in an acre.  Why does this matter?  We will have this much space to claim for our village!  Each homesteader will get up to 81 square feet of their very own to build on!  I figured 81 based on the white Village Guide Book, which recommends giving each student a 36 foot long piece of string for the perimeter of their claim.  I don't really understand where this number comes from (it is not 1/24 of a real acre or 1/24 of a real 1/2 acre), but it works, so I used it!  Now that we know why 43,560 is important, we need a way to actually measure that and see just how big it is.  If 43,560 square feet fit inside a square, how do you figure out how long each side of that square actually is?  A couple students said divide by four... that didn't work.  Another student offered that 12 times 12 equals 144... on the right track.  I suggested that we simplify this problem.  43,560 is a lot like 40,000; 40,000 is quite a lot like the number 4.  I went ahead and drew a square on the board divided it into four squares.  Eventually we got to 2 X 2 = 4.  However, we took four zeros off of the number we really needed (40,000) and those had to be put back in place for us to find the correct length for one side of a square acre.  We will need to measure out 200 feet, four times!  I think this is going to be hard!
  I took the students and the helper provided by the school out to the school parking lot, specifically the long drive way right in front of the building.  I drew a chalk line at one end and had the students measure out 200ft with the 50ft tape measure.  I drew a line at the 200ft mark.  We formed a group again and I began telling them about pacing... then I backed up a little and we talked about gait.  What is gait?  It is like a door in a fence.  Nope, not a gate, just gait.  I told them that it is the natural rhythm and measure that your body falls into when you walk, comfortably.  I then told them that we were going to learn how many paces it takes each of us to get 200ft, and showed them how to count paces.  This way we won't need measuring tape or string to find out what a real acre looks like.  They went once.  I sent them counting back to the other end.  Many students got the same number, those that didn't I sent back again.  Enough of us had consistent counts to move on.  So, how big do you think an acre is?  From that white sign, to that big tree.  We paced and found we came up a little short for our first side, the students added on the extra 6 paces or so and we moved onto the next side.  From this tree to that stop sign.  Most of the class over shot their 200ft count and went all the way for the stop sign... so we had to do it again.  We chose the average spot to be our next corner.  The students then trudged through the drainage ditches (fortunately it was fairly dry this morning) and the parking lot back toward the building.... X marked the spot and we all stood back and marveled at how much land an acre is.  It is quite large!
  Next we broke into two groups to do a little bit of exploring.  Where do we want to put our acre?  We did not have much time for this... but we did have enough time for the kids to establish that they did not want any poison ivy, bees or dog poop on their land.
  If weather permits, next week I plan to spend the lesson scouting for land and possibly string up the actual boundary line.  Today we learned; how to pace, what gait is, the size of an acre.  We dug deep into our brains and remembered how to find the area of a square.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Week 5, Marlborough School

October 11, 2011

We were nearly a full class today (21 students I think).  I arrived at school early to set out all of the peep making supplies and write the job info on the board.  When the class had arrived I informed them that we would have until 8:35 to finish up peeps and fill out job applications.  After this point we would move onto peep introductions.  We went once around the room saying our names, as many students still don't seem to know who their classmates are.  The jobs posted on the board were:  banker, trading post manager, newspaper editor, moderator, secretary, and "odd jobs".  The class was instructed to fill out the questions posted on the board if they had finished making their peep.
Job Application Form:
1. Position applying for
2. Name (peep)
3. Hometown
4. Age
5. Education
6. Relevant experience
7. Non-relevant experience
8. Why should UPM (United Peeps of Monadnock) choose you for this position?

The kids were chomping at the bit to get started, I ought to have given the class a little bit more information concerning the jobs than I did, but ultimately, I don't think this will be much of a problem.  The next 20 minutes were very busy and productive.  Many students had questions regarding the required information for the job application.  They really had fun inventing a bit of history for their peeps.  At 8:35 I collected 15 job applications!  I am very excited about this and have to figure out just how I will conduct interviews during class.

After a bit of clean up we moved onto some more peep intros.  Today we met:

Bob, introduced by Matthew.  Bob is a thug, not a people person.  Has a mutation that he was born with a tail.  The Spanish teacher was present for this and she said that people can be born with all kinds of mutations.  Bob can be hired for all kinds of maintenance, he is a very skilled exterminator.

Lilly S. introduced us to Ostar, 21 years old from Alaska.  She wants to be moderator, her favorite color is white, she wants a husky and she like ice fishing.

Kevin introduced Pablo (from last years village) and his new wife, Amanda.  Pablo likes hitting things with swords, he likes weapons.  He is good at everything.  His favorite color is plaid.

Lilly M. introduced Nikki, age 25.  Nikki is a vet, she has one dog, one cat and several guinea pigs.  Her favorite color is lime green, she likes running and she hasn't killed anyone.  Nikki will sell the waste from her animals.

Dalton introduced us to Beerana and Morton (from village summer camp).  Beerana is Morton's 29 year old wife.  Morton, who is 30, is the town drunk.  He is from Alcantol.

Elizabeth introduced Lisa, age 21.  Lisa's favorite color is purple.  She loves to cook.  She has one dog and has killed no people.  She was in jail once for spitting on a cop.

Harley introduced Bob Hi.  Bob will not fight to the death with Gabe and his peep.  He has one snake and one spear.  His favorite color is hot sparkly pink.  He is bald and he likes squirrels and pie.  Bob is 30, drinks a lot, has killed three people, has one brother.  He is bald because he pulled his hair our when he was drunk.  He has no friends and has never been to jail.  Bob informs us that he will not nuke the world.

Jacob introduced Jared.  Jared is a 19 year old from Philadelphia.  He fixes computers and wants to be banker in village.  He plays soccer and and loves lemon pie.  His favorite element is oxygen.  He has never had a reason to kill anyone and he doesn't drink.

Elizabeth S. introduced us to Marie, a 19 year old from Littleton, VT.

This is where we stopped (short) as the bell rang!  I am planning on doing the acre activity next week and possibly scouting for land depending on the weather.  If the weather is foul we will do the indoor area activity (large cookie... how do you get the most from your perimeter?), hopefully finish with peep intros and come up with some town name ideas.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Week 4, Marlborough School

October 4, 2011- Day 4
  Today at Village we were missing about 1/3 of the class due to testing.  I decided to spend the hour with peep introductions.  I gave a brief intro to the activity, let the kids know the kind of information we might like to know about their peeps.  My first eager volunteer was Sawyer.  His peep is named Michael, he is 21, and his favorite foods are: ice cream, apple pie, and lasagna.  He is Canadian, has a German Sheppard and he is a vet.  Seeing no other volunteers, I went ahead and properly introduced Rolph.  He tends to be popular, and good at loosening the tension in a class because his favorite thing to talk about is manure, aka poop.  Rolph helped Michael find his natural voice. 

Next we met Ryan’s peep, Dave.  Dave is 25, he likes to dance and he is from the Spanish room.  He has a pet disco monkey.  He is a professional disco dancer, he loves disco ball shaped cakes, he has a salsa dancing brother.  He can do interesting tricks with his head as it is not glued on yet.  He knows Dance-Fu and has been jailed once for dancing too much. 
Tayissa introduced us to Hunter.  He is 21, from the Leaf Tribe and has 11 brothers and 11 sisters.  He is married to Pocahontas, his hobby is hunting and he does not carry a gun.
Wyatt introduced Chuck, not like Chuck Norris.  He is 15, hunts, does extreme sports… he doesn’t go to school so he basically does whatever he wants.  He owns and carries two spears and he will fight everything, but not cats.  Chuck has 10 pets and is from South Carolina.  He does not like Bob the Builder, does not have cable and does not like pie!

Will introduced Mark.  Mark is 25 and has dread locks and furry cow hide chaps.  He loves biking, has no pets, likes dogs, likes cherry and blueberry pie, he also likes pizza.  Mark is very wealthy, he might join a biker gang, his favorite weapon is a machine gun.  His favorite color is yellow and he also likes pink a little bit.  Mark has been jailed once for trespassing and vandalism (spray painting private property).

 Danny introduced us to a peep with no name, yet.  He is 24, has a very squeaky voice, his weapon of choice is the revolver.  ? is a gun collector, he is a hired assassin by trade and he plans to blow up Canada because he does not like the Canadian accent.

Cedric introduced us to another name-less peep.  He is 37, from Australia, he likes sailing, and motor cycle tricks.  Radiation from the hole in the ozone layer over Australia has made him very strong and very orange.  He was formerly a policeman, he kills 10 flies in the summer and he is not a murderer.  He has ridden a kangaroo, jumper 50ft chasms on a motorbike, and navigated whirlpools on a motorboat.  He carries a machete for bushwhacking.  He has a younger, turtle obsessed half brother, and a younger half sister who loves French fries.

Eliza introduced us to Lee.  Lee, is 26, she is a gardener who doesn’t like pansies because they make her sneeze.  She is from Connecticut, has never been to jail, has five cows (for manure for her garden), likes potato chips, grows flowers and doesn’t like Justin Beber.   Lee said it would be okay if Rolph came over for dinner sometime!

Tayah introduced us to Carmen.  Carmen is 21 and from New Jersey.  She has two sisters who also will be living in the village at Marlborough School.  Carmen is not a psycho freak.  She is a fashion designer with beautiful dyed pink hair.  She has been jailed once for spitting on a “cop”.

I would say the class mostly went very well.  The students were quiet and respectful of their peers during the intros.  At the beginning of class I had two kids fighting over a seat, poor language was used and the situation ultimately was resolved.  At the end of class a student informed me that the missing heads (from last week) were taken by another student and he destroyed them and was playing with the clay.  I spoke with Rueben about these two issues; he will send me a class list as well as the official disciplinary script for the school. 
Today we learned/used respect, public speaking, creativity.
Next week I plan to give students about 20 minutes of peep making time, post federal jobs for hire (banker, newspaper editor, trading post manager) and continue with introductions.