Anthropology. Formulas. Measurement.
Keep them active in middle school math. Here is a great activity for measuring height using a formula developed by anthropologists for determining height of skeletal remains when very few bones are present.
The inquiry question for this activity is 'Why is measurement important to society?'
Students will first produce 2 estimates of their height using centimeters and feet and inches.
Following that, they take the measure of two bones using the metric system. They substitute their measurements into the formula to produce their calculated height. If they have been careful with their measurements they will be spot on! The formula is simple to use and is gender specific.
Students will then measure their actual height to use for comparison.
Students will use unit analysis to convert their height from centimeters back to feet and inches.
Finally they will compare and contrast their estimated height to the calculated height to their actual measured height.
All you need is a class set of measuring tapes and you are on your way.
I like to do this activity early in the year and I hang on to the assignments until June. Then it is off to the wall of height [two measuring tapes taped to my classroom wall end to end] and we look to see how much everyone grew during the year.
This is such a rapid time of growth for middle schoolers. They will be scrambling to get to the wall of height to see how tall they are now and how much they grew!
The basic skills used are estimation, addition, multiplication, division and measuring.
A rubric for assessment is included.