Looking for a new way to start off the year teaching Geometry? For a change of pace, rather than read the rules to the kids on the first day I decided to give them this activity instead.
Supplies Needed: Notecards, paperclips, Starbursts, rulers,
This is essentially a printable/editable packet with 6 different line segments that the students will measure using 6 different units of measurement. I chose 3 non-traditional units (notecard, paperclip, Starburst) and traditional units (Inches, Centimeters, Milimeters.) Feel free to change them to a unit that you have at your disposal.
The directions are purposely a little vague and suggest not "helping" your students too much by answering their questions. While the purpose of the lab is to measure segments the more important part of the lab is to watch how they think, what strategies they come up with, how they interact, what observations they make about the units,etc.
Some questions that you can ask them along the way are:
-Why is one unit easier to use than others?
-Which one is more accurate and why?
-Which line segments were easier to measure and why?
-Can you use decimals with inches?
-How accurate can you get with a centimeter ruler? How many decimal places?
My classes came up with different strategies such as:
-Folding the notecard into 1/4ths, 1/8ths, etc.
-Marking the units on the paper
-Measuring the Starbursts with the rulers and then converting the units
Overall it worked well for an 80 minute block. The kids liked the hands on activity and it got them thinking. It will be a good jump off point for getting into line segments, notation, proper measuring, etc. They can each eat a Starburst (at the end after they use it) and they each can get a chance to practice measuring. Even some of the most advanced kids can forget how to measure in Centimeters and Millimeters.
Please check out my other math resources and thanks for looking! Happy Teaching!