‘Weighty’ learning at Fairley Elementary

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

Using a scale to measure 1 kilogram of rice into Ziploc bags, students in Deb Kenney’s third-grade class at Fairley Elementary School learned about partitioning, decomposing and illustrating various problems during a lesson Nov. 7.

“This is one of many hands-on activities in the Common Core math modules that supports our students’ concrete understanding that will be the foundation of future learning,” said Lynnette DePoint, Hannibal school district’s kindergarten through eighth-grade mathematics coach.

Students were divided into small groups tasked with measuring 1 kilogram of rice. Once they completed that, they had to illustrate their thought process on a worksheet.

“When you’re illustrating your answers, you’re explaining it to somebody who wasn’t here to see what you did,” Kenney said. “You have to illustrate and explain every little step.”

As part of the project, students divided the bag into 10 equal parts using a 10-frame diagram so they could visually examine the weight and consider the impact that adding or subtracting a partition would have on the sum.

“(The lesson helps) solidify their understanding of metric weight and the relationship between a kilogram and a single gram,” DePoint said.

For students, Thursday’s hands-on activity proved to be effective, as third-grader Alexis Hull noted the biggest lesson she took away from the module.

“I learned that 1,000 grams equals 1 kilogram,” Hull explained, saying it was a bit difficult to get the bag to weigh exactly 1 kilogram.

Hull said the activity was a different way of learning and challenging at times, but “it was fun.”

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