Monday, October 29, 2012

How is the Mass and Volume of Matter Measured?

Today our young scientists participated in a science lab to answer the essential question, How can mass and volume be measured? 

To get started,  students had to make a hypothesis about which has more mass a crayon or a pencil. Then, using a pan balance with gram weights, they had to measure the mass of each. 

After that, they made a hypothesis on whether a marble or a seashell had more mass, and then measured the mass of each. (When the groups analyze their data, they will realize that the mass of all the marbles in the class are the same, however the mass of the seashell changes. The smaller the seashell the less the mass, the bigger the seashell, the larger the mass.)

Furthermore, students made a prediction about the volume of two cups of liquid, and then used a graduated cylinder to measure each volume.  (The red liquid was in a tall narrow glass and the blue liquid was in a small wide glass. Each contained 150 mL of colored water.)

Students were surprised to discover that they could also find the volume of a solid. An object's volume is the amount of space the object takes up. To find the volume of a solid, like the marble and the seashell, students used water displacement. They put 100 mL of water in a graduated cylinder, then gently dropped the solid in the water. The volume is recorded by the number of mL of water that was displaced, or moved. 

Tomorrow, we will have Closing Session where students will have to compare and then explain their results. By the end of Science Workshop tomorrow, students will be able to tell how the mass of matter is measured, and how the volume of a solid and liquid is measured.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fall Celebrations

Yesterday was one busy day! We had the opportunity to attend the K/1 Literary parade, enjoyed a pizza party sponsored by our friends at Reflex, had our fall party, and some students came out in the evening for the CCE Fall Carnival. These busy days bring with them much laughter and fun, and lifelong memories.

For the fall party, in the ShallRussell homeroom, our wonderful volunteers set up three stations. Students enjoyed playing bingo, making and eating owl cupcakes, and created the most precious craft, their very own owls in a tree.  I know you'll join me in saying a big THANK YOU to all the volunteers who made it possible. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Bad Boys of Dance Guest Appearance

We had a surprise guest appearance today at Chets Creek by a former student, James "Chip" Boyd, a member of the Bad Boys of Dance. Chip has traveled the world as a dancer and competed on the TV show, So You Think You Can Dance. The Bad Boys of Dance will be performing this Friday and Saturday at UNF, so Chip and two other dancers gave our students  a sneak peek into their show. The kids were enthralled and couldn't stop talking about Chips' dance moves!

Our Angry Birds Space Literary Pumpkins

Shall/Russell's Chef Kids had a fabulous time preparing the literary pumpkin this year with the help of some of our awesome moms. Angry Birds Space was the perfect compliment to our Universe unit we just completed in Science. 
Stop by the Chets Creek lobby to see our pumpkins on display. 


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Detectives at Work

Our first read aloud, Hank Zipzer, Niagra Falls or Does It?, was an amazing book. It taught us a that everyone learns differently, and to have empathy for others. It was also a great book to practice making mental movies. Even though this book is over, this laugh out loud series is sure to be a hit all year long. Our Hank Zipzer bin is constantly empty, and there is a long list of students waiting to read these amazing books!

Ms.Lipsky and Mrs O'Leary are super excited about our next read aloud, Edgar Allan's Official Crime Investigation Notebook. We prepared for the book by learning about the ingredients of a mystery book and watching a special message from the author, Mary Amato.

After reading the first chapter we learned that "Slurpy", the goldfish belonging to a 5th grade class at Wordsworth Elementary, had been stolen! The thief left behind a poem with clues to solve the mystery. "Who would do such a thing?" we all whispered. Stay tuned as we collect clues to solve this very challenging mystery!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Finding the Number of Squares in An Array

In our multiplication unit, students have been using an array model to help them visualize the organization of things in equal rows. Today, we worked on finding the total number of squares (or area) in an array.  Students also thought about the following essential question as they worked: How can I find the product of an array more easily? This led many students to the idea of decomposing (breaking down) arrays. The following is the work that students completed during the math workshop.
An array is a model for multiplication (and eventually division too). The goal is for kids to transfer this thinking to multiplication equations using mental math, without an array present. For example, a student might solve 8x6 as (4x6) + (4x6) or (8x3) + (8x3).  

Friday, October 19, 2012

Multiplication Strategies

Young mathematicians’ first formal introduction to multiplication and division happens in 3rd Grade.

In our unit, Equal Groups, situations are presented in context. The situation usually requires students to identify the number of groups and the number of items within each group.

There are 5 tricycles. Each tricycle has three wheels. How many wheels are there in all?

Or, the situation may read,

Tricycles have three wheels. There are 5 tricycles. How many wheels are there in all?

Number of Groups: 5
Number of Items in Each Group: 3

Students are taught to represent the problem with both an addition equation and a multiplication equation to illustrate the connection, and use a variable for the missing piece of information.

Addition equation: 3+3+3+3+3=w
Multiplication equation: 5x3=w (read 5 groups of 3)

Students generally begin solving the multiplication situations with their prior knowledge of repeated addition.

Repeated Addition: 3+3+3=9 and 3+3=6, so 9+6=15.

Then, some students move into skip counting if they can easily skip count by that number. If the situation allows counting skip counting by 2’s, 5’s, and 10’s, students will almost always start with this strategy. If however, the situation has them skip counting by 8’s, then we’ll teach students to use 10 as their anchor. Skip count by 10 and go back 2.

Skip Counting: 3,6,9,12,15.

One tool that we teach students to use to organize their thinking when skip counting is a ratio table. Ratio tables help students keep track of the number of groups as they skip count.

During the unit, students are introduced to multiplication situations using arrays, too. An array is a rectangular arrangement with rows and columns.

To create a common language with our students, we have them give us the dimensions of the row first and then the column. The array above would be a 5x3.

There are many ways to solve the array. One of the things students do is skip count the array.
They can skip count the array be either the rows or columns.

Students naturally begin to see and explore the commutative property of multiplication. Though the situation is 5x3, they realize they can applying their number knowledge properties, and solve 3x5 instead (5,10,15 or 5+5+5=15).

Students’ next level of understanding develops when they recognize that they can decompose an array into smaller arrays to help them solve problems.

In this situation, if a student didn’t know the product of 5x3 quickly, they could decompose the array into (5x2) + (5x1) = 15.

This understanding is extremely important as students move into problems that are more difficult when they begin multiplication like 6x8. When in the early stages of developing automaticity, they may not know 6x8, but if they know (3x8), they can solve 2(3x8), or, if they know 6x4, they can solve 2(6x4).

Students’ ability to think flexibly with decomposing arrays in multiple ways, builds a strong foundation for fluency in multiplication. The skill allows students to attack any multiplication equation for which they don’t automatically have a product, and leads into being able to solve more difficult equations like 14 x 12.

After the unit, Equal Groups, students have a solid conceptual foundation and can think about multiplication flexibly. But, if we stop there, they may never become fully fluent. We continue to practice fact fluency with our combination club flash cards, by playing multiplication bingo, doing fluency clicker reviews, and doing a timed fluency snapshot several times a week. The fluency snapshots are presented by similar facts. (5’s and 10’s together) (2’s and 4’s and 8’s together) (3’s, 6’s, 9’s, 12’s together) (7’s) and (11’s). Presentation with similar facts promotes the conceptual understanding we build throughout this unit.

Our goal is for every student to leave third grade knowing each of their multiplication facts within three seconds. This foundational knowledge creates automaticity and will help them be successful in fourth grade as they embark on more complex multiplication problems like 49 x 58.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Free Fall Gizmo

Gizmos are interactive on-line simulations in Mathematics and Science. On Tuesday and Thursday, students worked on a Gizmo called Free Fall Tower.  The Gizmo allowed students to explore how quickly different objects fall in air and how they fall in a vacuum, with no air. They also observed the objects acceleration as they fell.  Students who reached Activity 3 also explored the terminal velocity of objects falling through air, with and without a parachute.   

This activity promoted enrichment on the concept of gravity, mass, and acceleration, but is not content that students will be held accountable to learn in Grade 3. Students had the option to add the recording sheet to their red homework folder if they wanted to complete the activity at home, or to their green science folder that stays at school. 

On-Line Science Textbook

Today we taught the students how to log in to their on-line Science textbook. The link is on the right hand side of our blog under Science Websites. The student's username and password is in the back cover of their planner. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Gravity Lab Extension

During our study on gravity, we watched a video clip of Miss Russell skydiving. We thought it'd be interesting as an extension activity to show the historic Space Jump that occurred on Sunday and compare it to Miss Russell's experience. 

After we watched the video clip, we discussed the space suit used by Mr. Baumgartner, the capsule that he rode in, and the helium balloon he used to carry him into the stratosphere.

We then embarked on a little competition to offer basic exploration of weight and overcoming gravity, and the opportunity for students to engage in a trial and error method of problem solving.  Their challenge was to make a miniature hot air balloon that would hover in the air and move slowly toward the ceiling. If they added too much weight, gravity would be too strong. If they added too little weight, the balloon would rise too quickly. The group who had the miniature balloon that floated the slowest to the ceiling would claim victory.  There were four trials in all and watching the excited students as they planned, implemented, and launched their balloons was well worth the slightly organized chaos in our learning laboratory.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Examining Multiples Charts

In math, we have been examining multiples charts. We have highlighted multiples of all numbers 2-12.  Students have observed multiples charts that have relationships such as 3, 6, and 12 (see below). 
In class we have discussed the following types of questions:
How many groups of 3 does it take to make 30? ( _____ x 3 = 30)
How many groups of 6 does it take to make 30? ( _____ x 6 = 30)
What happens to the number of groups? Why? 

Is 100 a multiple of 3? Is 100 a multiple of 6? Is 100 a multiple of 12?

Below is an example of the work that students completed in class as part of their multiples study. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pictures of Things That Come in Groups

Yesterday, we had our second lesson on multiplication. The task required students to choose an item that comes in groups and draw several groups of the item. Then, they had to write a sentence about the three pieces of mathematical information in their picture. After that, they included an addition and multiplication equation to describe their picture. Our young mathematicians did a great job!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Things That Come In Groups

Yesterday, students began the study of multiplication and division. In order to understand these topics conceptually, it is important that they understand the meaning of multiplication and division which is the combining (and separating) of equal groups. Yesterday, students began brainstorming about things that come in groups (see chart below).  They also solved the story problems about equal groups. Check out our thinking below.