Monday, September 22, 2008

What's in a hand, and other units of linear measure

You can lay out your lesson plans as carefully as you want ~ how the student responds is a great unknown...

The Post Office Project continues with its study of time.  Papa Gardener and I decided to make linear measure the next math subject.   We agreed that S would start off by reading the story of Noah and the Ark.  This would be followed by exploration of various measurement units.

He read the story to himself, and also to T., using Tomie dePaola's "Stories of the Old Testament.  Then, the idea was to start measuring things with hands, and feet, and cubits, and to see that using individual people's measurements led to inconsistent results.  Well, no sooner did Papa Gardener and S begin, S announced that it would really be better to use a standardized unit.  They continued their exercise anyway, finding that the kitchen table, for example, was 4 of S's cubits in length.  That was remeasured in inches, and then they figured out how long each of those cubits was in inches.  And so on...

For a comparison of units, they headed outside to our supersized chalkboard, also known as the asphalt driveway.  The centimeter just barely shows up in the photo!

This lesson was supposed to stretch over several days.  Both teacher and pupil got so involved in it that they kept at it for several hours, accomplishing the lesson in one day.  Oops!  On the other hand, that's a perk of homeschooling... no need to shoehorn the lesson into the alloted time space when you find yourself on a roll!

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