Phase explanation: Students carry out hands-on activities in which they can explore the concept or skill. They grapple with the problem or phenomenon and describe it in their own words. This phase allows students to acquire a common set of experiences that they can use to help each other make sense of the new concept or skill.

Creating a Map

Grade 5
The students now formed groups and made a track using Base 10 longs. Then the groups were asked to create a map to represent their track as accurately as possible. Students were told another group would rebuild their track using only the map that they had produced. They initially attempted to draw their tracks on blank paper, which introduced them to the concept of capturing ideas and information for transmission to a third party.

The grid referencing system was introduced by students laying wool over the racetracks. Metre rulers provided the boundaries and the wool was laid across at decimetre intervals. They then made another map, but this time using the woolen grid and transferring the outline onto graph paper. These maps were compared with the earlier maps and students noticed that accuracy improved using the grid system.

The race track were then dismantled and packed away.

Drawing a map on plain paper

Here is the track

Sketching the map onto graph paper

Grid lines at decimetre intervals

A map on graph paper

Laying the woolen grid lines

Grade 2

After examining the race tracks on the IWB, the Grade 2 children were formed into groups and laid out a race track using Base 10 longs. They did this on thin MDF boards that were covered with paper. Once a track was decided upon, the children then traced the track onto the paper. They then tested the track for both challenge and speed using magnets and a ball (see photos). The boards were supported by Base 10 blocks. Track alterations were allowed, indeed encouraged, in order to come up with the best design.

Following this the children then took turns to time each other using stop watches. The best times were written on the paper next to the race tracks and then transferred to a table on the IWB.

Designing and building the track

Lots of negotiation is needed!

The ball and magnets, from a kit.

One student is the racer, another the timekeeper, the last the adjudicator.

Racing with magnets

Lots of fun!

Best times recorded on the IWB

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