Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Cheap! Dinosaur Measuring and Science

In the current economy (and as far as being frugal and financially wise at any time!) I am always interested in lessons that can be enhanced as cheaply as possible.

My class has been involved in a inquiry based unit on dinosaurs for the past week. It seems to me that there are always easy ways to integrate language and literacy lessons in every unit, but sometimes it is more difficult to integrate math and science. Since this unit focuses on dinosaurs, science is not a problem either, but how can we integrate math concepts? Here's one idea we used.

I found these dinosaur figures at my local Dollar Tree. (Yes, it cost a whopping $1 for this lesson.)

I explained to my students that these dinosaurs were supposed to get bigger when we put them in water. We decided to measure them with a ruler, predict how big we thought it would get and then measure it after it grew.

Since I wanted to focus on some math skills, we made a big deal out of measuring the dinosaur. I left my finger on the number 4 after we measured and reminded the children that he should get "bigger." I asked them "How big do you think he will get?" as I ran my other pointer finger across the top of the ruler (showing them the most logical choices across the ruler.) They made their predictions as I recorded them and then we observed. The pictures show you where we are so far!

After we measure our dinosaur again tomorrow, we'll take him out of the water and predict what will happen. It will be interesting to see if any of the children will predict that he shrinks back to 4 inches (remember, that's where we started at our first measurement!)

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