High Flying Mathematicians
Folding, throwing, gliding, and cheering have become common sights in the grade 4 classrooms. Part of unit 4 in our Everyday Math program focuses on whole numbers, decimals, and measuring to the nearest millimeter. These concepts are quite tricky, yet fourth grade has found a fun and exciting way to make these ideas more clear and concrete: paper airplane races!
Students have been designing, testing, and racing paper airplanes in front of Parkside and on the sports field. They have recorded multiple flight trials; tracking the distance their planes have flown and recording those measurements as accurately as possible.
Taking this data, students have found the mean, median, mode, and range of each trial. They also constructed bar graphs and had discussions as to why their planes flew the way they did.
Teachers lead conversion lessons where students took their data and changed it from inches into millimeters, centimeters, and decimeters.
Groups focused on changing decimals into fractions, and competitions became camaraderie as kids shared their new found knowledge related to flight and math.
This real world application has made math more interesting to all of the 4th grade students. At recess time, kids huddle together discussing better designs. Occasionally words such as “fraction,” and “converting” float through the air. But, it is the large smiles on the faces of everyone whenever math time is announced, that makes the learning meaningful to teachers and students alike.
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