Making Math Meaningful :
A Middle School Math Curriculum for Teachers and Parents
Boy is that a great book. No middle schooler should be without it! Then in the afternoon circle time, we did some more from Marilyn Burns.
Here are the multiplication word problems that the girls wrote, inspired by a lesson on multiplication in A Collection of Math Lessons: Grades 3-6
In the lesson we first brainstormed things that come in sets, from 2 (our eyes, for example) all the way to 12 (a dozen eggs, inches on a ruler, etc.). Yes, 11 was the hardest number to do! It made for a fun challenge, even for middle schoolers. This list then provided some assistance in writing story problems which contained a multiplication problem. They had to create a problem, trade clipboards, read each other's stories, write the problem as a number sentence, and solve.*
- Leah was going on a road trip. On the way she amused herself by counting stop signs. When she got to where she was going, her older sister said, "I'm smarter than you. I counted the sides of the stop signs as well as how many there were." Her older sister said if she could tell her how many sides there were on 182 stop signs, she would be deemed "smart." Can you help poor Leah figure out this whopper of a problem and be deemed smart?
- Four "pushels" of tomatoes
- Two "3 peck" cans of beans, and
- 2 stalks of angoli mushrooms
written by a 6th grader
Susan was going grocery shopping with her sister because their mother had broken her ankle. Susan and her family had just moved to Mitchell County and were quite new here. She had to study all amounts of measurement before she went shopping. Her mother told Susan what she needed. It was quite simple and would take her less than 1 "yard" to do so. Here is Susan's shopping list:
Susan remembered that 1 "pushel" is 13 tomatoes and a "3 peck" can of beans holds 43 beans, but she wondered exactly how many tomatoes and beans she would be buying. Can you help Susan?
written by an 8th grader
*Note: When Leah solved Natalie's paper, she wrote Susan a note.
13 x 4 = 52.
43 x 2 = 86.
2 stalks of angoli mushrooms
This is Susan's shopping list simplified. Good luck, Susan. I hope you like Mitchell County. By the way, how much time is 1 "yard"? I just moved here as well and my mom hasn't explained it to me yet.
Today we started the Saints block for Leah. Our poem to memorize this week is Saint Francis's Canticle to the Sun. I'm using The Waldorf Book of Poetry: Discover the Power of Imaginationfor this, but I'm sure you can find it in a million places. Leah and I are starting with St. Michael. Actually, Becca is involved too because she's helping with "The Harvest Loaf" recipe mit story, found in All Year Round: Christian Calendar of Celebrations
They are working together to gather and measure the ingredients, which is a nice review of the Metric System for Leah.
I like starting the Saints block after All Saint's Day, and we will end it at Thanksgiving. I'm putting together another post of Saint stories, so I will save that and instead share here the instructions for a beautiful jellyfish painting which Leah put in Man and Animal (head animal). We had an artist friend come to our home to give the lesson. She loved that we had liquid watercolor paints already!
large piece of watercolor paper (we folded Leah's in half and it fit in a horizontal medium MLB... you turn the page and unfold it to reveal)
a large tarp to cover your work surface
small containers for mixing secondary colors (so our primary colors didn't get muddied -- I used the compartments of a large plastic egg carton)
rubbing alcohol and an eyedropper
salt (we had table salt and coarse sea salt)
chalk or chalk pastels
Work with dry paper. Using a round brush, create a semicircle. This is the bell of your medusa. Be sure to really pool the liquid watercolors on your paper. Then stand your paper up on end so that the drips run down to form tentacles. Lay your paper down. Make another jellyfish. Stand the paper up again. Repeat as many times as you want. Try some special effects. Layer colors on top of colors... put a drop of rubbing alcohol on the wet jellyfish... sprinkle salt. Chalk pastels add more swirly shaped tentacles and an extra layer of texture.
They were BEAUTIFUL!