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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Math Month Meets Eco-Stats & A Touch of Tech

January is Math Month at Eagle Cove School.  Given that, we encourage math exploration across the grade levels, send home math calendars for enrichment activities, read about math, incorporate math in all our special/enrichment classes, and work up both individual and class projects that then get posted in the Mega Math Museum in the gym.  It's a big deal!  
QR Code Caption:  Styrofoam cups
take ____ years to biodegrade.

As the teacher/cheerleader who runs Math Month, it's exciting each year to see the different projects that come in.  Every year is unique and different, and it's always a surprise what the kids will bring in.  It's a delight, too, to have even our youngest munchkins come running up to me at recess to tell me all about the math they are working on and the project that they'll be bringing in soon!  They are excited about math, and I love it!!

Given my "green" leanings, I always try to build in an environmental project or two for my whole class projects.  This year, for one of my whole class 3rd grade projects, I decided that it'd be timely to tie in a math project with a few of our new ECS iPads.  Using the Kaywa QR Code Generator, I loaded it with some statistical data from my eco-library:  how many years does it take for a plastic grocery bag to biodegrade; how many weeks does it take a banana to break down; how long does it take Styrofoam to biodegrade; etc.   

So my young math minds made some prediction using the blacklines below in the SlideShare.  They predicted the order (from least to greatest) that they thought the following items would biodegrade:  cardboard milk carton, sheet of paper, banana peels, aluminum cans, cigarette butts (which always brings 8-9 year old to chuckles), plastic grocery bags, plastic cups, and Styrofoam.  Then they made reflections about their findings.  Some surprises... that's for sure!  At this point, I had my "Math-Month"ians complete a graph and a paragraph frame of their findings.  2 examples are in the SlideShare below.  To go the extra mile for an amazing presentation, I had them take their rough draft graph to the computer lab to type in the blanks on a pre-installed black-line on our school server in the computer lab. 

The computerized end-results were completely a thing of beauty, and I swelled with pride in that "proud teacher" moment.  Their comments were rich:  "Wow! After this, I am going to use less plastic," "I think I need to recycle more," "I was totally surprised by the numbers!"  In the end... our Math Month project had great results, both with its in-class commentary and with the dynamic presentation it made. Plus, it might even teach the Mega Math Museum viewers a thing or too.  That, too, makes me swell in "green" teacher pride!
QR code from my document above as created from http://qrcode.kaywa.com/

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