Thursday, February 23, 2012

We WONDERed How Many Cubes Would Fit?

For those teachers who are right in the middle of teaching solids in math right -I would suggest you take two days and allow your students time to WONDER about volume.  This unit is always hard for me to teach as well as difficult for my students to understand.  My students memorize the formulas for volume but true understanding at a deeper level has not always happened in my classroom.   

I introduced the unit differently this year and went back to Investigation's math program.  For those of you in Dublin, I am sure you are smiling at this comment. I had this question on my board when they entered math class on Tuesday: I WONDER how many cubes will fit in the package?  I passed out the following materials and walked away. A flat (2D) drawing of the box, graph paper, cubes and a pencil. The students predicted how many would fit in the package then they built the package and filled the package with cubes.  None of the students were correct the first time, 5 out of 17 were correct the second time, and 16 out of 17 were correct on the last package they built. 

You can see how they wrote the numbers in the box to help them explore the formulas and if you watch the video carefully notice how they are counting and thinking-exploration math is WONDERful.

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