Boats that float!

During the last week of math camp, we challenged our Mathletes to use the construction and math skills that they had been practicing to individually and economically build a boat that would float. The parameters of the challenge were simple: Goal: Using the materials from the list below, design and construct the least expensive boat possible that will float... Continue Reading →

Building bridges through collaboration

To kick off the second week at Summer Numeracy Camp, we again wanted to challenge our Mathletes with a team-building exercise that required collaboration and communication: building bridges! We began with a simple question: "What does good collaboration look, sound and feel like?" This question generated a great discussion about the skills and attitudes necessary to work... Continue Reading →

Measurement with catapults

As a team building exercise to finish the first week at Summer Math Camp, our Mathletes created simple catapults designed to launch cotton balls. The full description for the catapult design and construction can be found at this Kids Activities blog post. Each student created their own catapult from the following materials: 7 craft sticks 3 elastics Egg... Continue Reading →

Marshmallow challenge

On the first day of summer numeracy camp, we decided to have the kids try the "Marshmallow Challenge," as described by Tom Wujec on his website and during the TED Talk featured below. The students were provided with a paper bag kit containing all the materials, and they were instructed to build the tallest freestanding structure... Continue Reading →

Scientists in school

This week I had the pleasure of participating in a visit from Scientists in School (SiS), which is a Canadian science education charity that brings science workshops to K-8 students. As the grade sixes are working on their biodiversity unit, their workshop focused on the science of classifying organisms. The facilitator briefly reviewed the process of classifying organisms before allowing the students... Continue Reading →

Misconception check

To use this strategy, the teacher gives a common misconception about a topic, and students explain why they agree or disagree with it. According to constructivism, students interpret new learning through the lens of previously developed beliefs and ideas about the world. These preconceived ideas could be misinterpretations of generally accepted explanations for a phenomenon, which... Continue Reading →

Makerspaces

As part of the ‘Maker Movement,’ Makerspaces (or hackerspaces) are physical spaces where students can come together to share, create, invent, network, build and learn. These community environments provide tools that could range from hardware supplies to a 3D printer. While they are often associated with fields such as engineering and computer science, this collaborative... Continue Reading →

Sketch it out

Visual learning has many benefits, especially in the classroom. Sketching and drawing in particular can be used to develop students’ skills in observation, literacy, and creativity. By sketching, students not only learn how to represent and visually communicate their ideas, they also draw on background knowledge to meaningfully connect their ideas to the real world.... Continue Reading →

Foldable Fun!

Foldables are an excellent way to help students organize and visualize their learning, especially in science. They can take the form of: Mini books Shutter-fold books Layered books Four-door books Three-tab books Index tab books ...and many, many, MANY more! Dinah Zike offers resources and professional development on the use of foldables in education, and her "Big Book... Continue Reading →

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