On Tuesday we had our second Adventure-Based Learning, or ABL, of the year. We are lucky that we get to participate in Sweetser's ABL program, which emphasizes cooperation and group problem-solving. A couple of times a month, all the fourth graders spend most of the morning in the gym on a variety of challenges that require them to communicate and work together in order to be successful.
One of the challenges our first week was to see how many times each focus group could hit a balloon ball to keep it in the air. Lots of teamwork needed for this one!
This past week, the big challenge was to make a line that reached all the way across the gym, using only your group and what belonged to you. At first it seemed impossible, but with some brainstorming and cooperation, it was amazing what happened!
We finished up the week with some cooperative research based on the S.O.L.E. model, which stands for Self-Organized Learning Environment. Students worked in groups of 3-4 to research a Big Question, and report their findings to the rest of the class. Our question connected to our current math focus on measurement. We were wondering why different places in the world used different units of measurement.
We talked about what keywords might get us the results we wanted, and decided we should search for "History of Measurement for Kids," and "Customary vs. Metric Measurement for Kids".
Students had 30 minutes to research and find answers to the Big Question. They took notes so that they could share what they learned with the rest of the class.
We learned that the Egyptians were the first people to use a unit of measurement- the cubit. Many units of measurement were based on the human body, such as a foot.
We also learned that the United States, Liberia, and Myanmar are the only three countries that use the Customary System of measurement, rather than the Metric System. A meter, the basic unit to measure length in the Metric System, is one ten millionth of the distance from the North Pole to the Equator.
Everyone was excited to share what they learned. We all enjoyed learning more about measurement. In math class, we've started measuring items to the nearest inch. Next will be measuring to the nearest 1/2 and 1/4 inch. Families, look for opportunities to ask your child to measure real items at home. They need lots of practice to internalize the different units of measurement. If you don't own a ruler, tape measure, or yardstick, please consider getting at least one of them so that your child can practice, (plus they are just handy to have around!)
Here are the measurement charts that students will be putting into their math notebooks this week.
Thanks for reading about our terrific week of teamwork!