|It never really had a chance.|
Andrew Stadel has written about the potential that starting arguments in math class has to reinforce both practice standards (especially numbers 1 and 3) and engage kids in learning, and I agree. For this project, I collected five boxes and asked the kids to guess their order from smallest to largest as measured by volume. I didn't want the boxes to be too similar, just similar enough that it wouldn't be too obvious.
|I chose these five...|
|...and gave the kids time to get their hands on them.|
With the intellectual need now built, it was time for the kids to resolve the dispute. They first had to estimate the volume of each box...
|...then find the necessary measurements. We decided on nearest tenth of a centimeter to reinforce working with decimals.|
|We let them use a calculator because who wants to do all those calculations by hand?|
|The data was recorded.|
The activity isn't all that imaginative, and it's not that hard to prep for. All you need are some boxes, rulers, and calculators. And while it's not as easy as asking the kids to take out their books and do this...
. ...I guarantee you'll have more fun.