Time: About 11 hours+
Level: 3rd grade (quite challenging), 4th, and 5th grade
Critical thinking plus! This unit will have the students engineering and building “sailboats, “land speeders,” and signal flags from scratch, designing, thinking metaphorically, exploring new areas of math, interpreting historical primary sources and blue prints, solving real world math problems, doing grid work, using graphic design, building background knowledge in physical science, writing a short informative piece, and creating an original game.
Students learn about signal flags from historical primary source posters and then create their own flag—a metaphor for themselves.
Students then design and build a “sailboat” from large notecards--blowing them across the floor in a classroom racing regatta.They’ll collect data, practice decimals and place value, and calculate mean afterwards.
Next, students learn about semaphore flags from historical photos and craft their own set of flags in a puzzling little activity. They’ll learn to signal with the semaphores so they can help their classmates review some of the properties of air.
Then it’s time to apply math to real-world problems and practice geometry and measurement as students discover how sailboats sail against the wind. Students will challenge their classmates with “tacking” puzzles as a fun extension.
Finally, students design a logo for their extremely cool land-speeders. Our class will be the envy of the elementary school. These little carts will go zipping around the room as we finish with a designing a fun game.
You will be ready to start tomorrow. It’s all here except for a few basic, common supplies and a few inexpensive others you can purchase at the local craft store. You get ready-to-print activity sheets, pictures, narrative explanations, and Common Core State Standard references for math.