Learning in Burnaby Schools

Author: morgand

Taking Math Outdoors

Over this school year, Kristina Carley’s Div 6 Gr 3 and 4’s from University Highlands elementary have been exploring math outdoors in a variety of ways.  Here are a few examples:

Sharing Data

As the class began to get to know one at the start of the year, they used questions and gathered data to explore tallies, bar graphs, and pictographs. They also graphed observations outside. Some inquiry questions include:

  • What characteristics can we use to group our found materials?
  • How can we organize our data to compare and analyze what we have found?
  • Which ways of representing help us easily recognize the differences between amounts?

Sundial and Time

Make sundials to explore math & science inquiry about time. Students made paper sundials and then took them home to explain to parents. Students also explored the rotation and revolution of the earth around the sun in an activity where students became models of the Earth and spun around to understand how this movement is responsible for the Sun rising and setting every day. They also discussed how the speed of the Earth’s rotation affects the length of one full day.

Other inquiries include:

  • Who developed the first clock
  • Why are days, hours, months and years the length they are?
  • How do other cultures measure time?

Instructions on  making the sundial are here. Find some great information about the 13 moons of the Wsanec First Nation here.

Fibonacci Numbers

Division 6 explored patterns including Fibonacci numbers. After learning about them, we found them everywhere.

  • Where can we find Fibonacci numbers outside?
  • Where else can you find patterns around us?

1000 Sticks

To explore groups of 1000 and begin their number sense unit, division 6 made a pile of 1000 sticks. They were surprised at how long it took… and then how small the amount looked! Later, they connected their learning to a photo of a beaver dam that Ms. Carley found at the Burn’s Bog! It looked so similar to the groups of 1000 sticks! With each photo at the bog, students got more information to estimate how many sticks were in the beaver’s structure. The understanding of number sense, place value, ordering, comparing, adding, and subtracting has come a long way!

After estimating how many sticks were in the dam, students solved a numberless story problem about the beaver who might have built that dam. The next day, they were inspired to create our own story problems and came up with stories that had all sorts of math operations. Some were about addition, time, division, measurement, patterns, and more! Where can math live inside stories?

-K. Carley and D. Morgan

Wednesday Wander at Forest Grove

What does rain taste like to you? Does rain taste differently under a cedar tree? How fast is the water moving today?

Wednesday Wander happens even if staff forget their boots!

Every Wednesday, the K-1 classes at Forest Grove Elementary get together with the Strong Start and go for a wander and wonder in the forest. No matter the weather, everyone bundles up and troops out to enjoy the fresh air and explore the environment.

On the day I visited with Dawn Howey, Ros Duchesneau and Tanya Nicoll, the weather could only be described as a deluge.  But not even nature’s torrents could dampen the spirits of the students.  They enthusiastically stomped through the puddles, explored the raindrops using all their senses, and took turns measuring the speed of the water by counting how long a stick took to traverse a tunnel.  They investigated the area using magnifying glasses.  They hiked up a hill to their usual story spot and talked about homes in the rain.

Forest Grove has turned this into a tradition–and it is connecting the students to their neighbourhood and nature.