Mr. Johnson's Grade 3 Classroom Blog


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  • Collecting and Analyzing Measuring Data using Google Apps
    Students have been learning to estimate and measure in centimetres.

    First we discussed the width of a finger is about 1 cm and is a good way to estimate the length of an object in centimetres.

    Next we reviewed how to use a ruler (starting at 0 and measuring to the nearest cm).

    Then students were tasked to estimate and measure 3 objects from the classroom with a ruler. They were also asked to identify whether their estimate was: too short, too long or just right.

    When done, students entered in their data on an iPad using Google Forms:

    Consolidating the lesson: When done, we examined the data that was collected. 

    First we looked at students' estimates. 

    From this pie chart, we concluded that when estimating with centimetres, our estimation was most likely to be too short. We compared this to the same activity that was done the day before where students used snap cubes instead of rulers. When using snap cubes, their estimations were much more like to be just right. Also, their estimation was equally like to be too short or too long

    Students suggested that centimetres were harder to estimate because they were smaller than snap cubes and they were less familiar with them.

    Finally we looked at the objects that were measured. The data was summarized in Google Sheets:

    We used Google Sheets to order the objects from smallest to greatest. We discussed that centimetres are best used to measure smaller objects as it becomes tedious to measure larger objects with a 30 cm ruler. Also, that students estimations were most accurate when the object was 10cm or less.

    Posted Oct 17, 2018, 5:51 PM by Patrick Johnson
  • Wild Blueberries by Julie Flett
    Last week we read the story Wild Blueberries by Julie Flett. The story tells about a young boy and his Grandmother collecting blueberries and appreciating the wilderness around them. It is a beautifully illustrated story that includes words in the Cree Language. Before we read the story, we learned about the Cree Indigenous people and the Cree language.

    Our Big Thinking Questions for this story:
    Where might the story take place? How do you know?
    Why do you think the story includes words written in the Cree language? What do you think is the purpose of this book?
    What deep connection do you have to this story?

    After the story, we discussed the Big Thinking Questions and students wrote and illustrated their connections. Students then shared their connections with their classmates using a fun strategy called Milling to Music (while the music is playing you walk around the class greeting each other and then find a partner when the music stops).

    Posted Oct 15, 2018, 5:31 PM by Patrick Johnson
  • Cookie Monster Problem
    Students have been learning to represent numbers as well as skip counting. This week, they tackled the Cookie Monster Problem!!

    First students were shown the video below and asked what did they wonder (using their math eyes).

    the Cookie Monster (Act-1) from Graham Fletcher on Vimeo.

    Students asked:
    How many cookies came in the package?
    How many cookies were eaten?
    How many cookies were left in the package?

    Next students were asked to estimate how many cookies were left in the package. They were asked to give their estimate, as well as an estimate that was too high and too low. Students placed their yellow stickies on the board to show their estimates.

    Then students were asked: How many cookies came in the package and how did you count them?

    Strategies included:
    -counting each column and adding them (16+16+16=48)
    -adding 10 rows of 3 (30) plus 6 rows of 3 (18) then 30+18=48
    -counting by 2s
    -16x3 =48

    The next day, student watched the video below which summarized the math activity so far:

    Students were then given the following problem to solve with a partner:

    Students discussed the math and used chart paper to show how many cookies they thought the Cookie Monster ate!

    Posted Oct 12, 2018, 11:54 AM by Patrick Johnson
  • Quick Connections Vs. Deep Thinking Connections
    Students have been working on making personal connections as they read. Today I used the Yes/No game (the proper name is concept attainment) to teach the differences between a quick connection and a deep thinking connection. 

    Students were presented with YES examples and they had to figure out what made them different from the NOs (I didn't tell them anything else). Each YES example was paired with a NO example. Students had time to discuss their predictions as to what made the YES group different from the NO group.

    Afterwards, students were presented a series of TESTERS where they decided whether the connection belonged in the YES or NO group. Then, students revealed what they thought made the YES group different from the NO group.
    They said the YES group:

    -had lots more detailed
    -usually included feelings 
    -explains the connection more
    -were stronger, deeper connections

    We discussed that these deeper connections are the ones that lead to increased understanding when we are reading instead of just quick connections.
    Posted Oct 9, 2018, 4:49 PM by Patrick Johnson
  • My Heart Fills with Happiness
    Recently we read the story My Heart Fills with Happiness by Monique Gray Smith. Even though it is a short board book, it has a powerful message. After we read the story, students discussed what community they thought the book took place in (Inuit) and what was the purpose of the book. Then students created a Google Slide show and collage answering the question at the end of the book: What fills your heart with happiness?
    Posted Oct 9, 2018, 4:46 PM by Patrick Johnson
  • Visit and Record
    Students participated in a math activity called visit and record. First students picked a 2 or 3 digit number (between the numbers 21 and 499). Then they made their number using base 10 blocks and placed it on a 100s mat. On a slip of paper they wrote their name on one side and their number in standard and expanded form on the other side. Afterwards, students walked around the class recording other students' numbers and seeing if they agreed with how the student wrote their number in expanded form. If they disagreed, they found that student and tried to work on the expanded form for that number together.

    Posted Oct 5, 2018, 11:04 AM by Patrick Johnson
  • Coding Dash to Bulldoze: Problem Solving Using Geometry and Measurement
    Today, students completed a STEAM task involving coding Dash the robot. The task was to code Dash to remove as many balls as possible from a hundred's mat. Dash could start anywhere on the perimeter of the mat (it was not allowed to start on a diagonal).

    This activity linked to the curriculum and learning skills in many ways:
    • Students worked together to complete the task, often troubleshooting together when their code didn't work as expected (LS- Collaboration)
    • Programming movement on a grid (Geometry)
    • Right, acute and obtuse angles (Geometry)
    • Area-the number of squares that contained balls compared to those that were empty (Measurement)
    • Students were told that for every 20cm they programmed Dash to travel, it would move one square on the grid (Measurement)
    • Dash pushing the balls off the carpet (Science- Forces)
    • Friction-The carpet slowed the distance Dash travelled so in fact each square measured less than 20 cm(Science-Forces)
    First we discussed what a force was (a push or pull) and went outside and identified forces around us (wind blowing trees, pushing a shopping cart, making a car move down the street, jumping and being pulled back to the ground). Then students were put into groups and decided what version of the task they wanted to try.

    The layout of the balls on the mat:

    Then students were given grid paper that showed the layout of the balls on the mat. They were told that if they programmed Dash to move 20cm, that was the equivalent of moving one square on the grid. Students planned a route for Dash on the grid paper before coding their route on the iPad app.

    Finally, when students were satisfied with their code, they attempted the task. Students were allowed up to three attempts. This gave students the opportunity to analyze Dash's performance and make modifications to the code before the next attempt. It is interesting to note that almost every group was able to improve Dash's performance in subsequent attempts.

    Afterwards, students reflected on their Learning Skill:

    Posted Oct 3, 2018, 3:54 PM by Patrick Johnson
  • Making Bug Houses out of Base Ten Blocks

    Students made bug houses out of base ten blocks!

    The Task: Students could choose up to 16 base ten blocks to construct a bug house. Afterwards, students counted the value of the blocks. The value became the address of the bug house.

    Posted Oct 3, 2018, 3:30 PM by Patrick Johnson
  • Students Working Together to Build this Awesome Tower!

    Posted Oct 3, 2018, 2:12 PM by Patrick Johnson
  • Pattern Block Puzzles!

    Posted Oct 3, 2018, 2:11 PM by Patrick Johnson
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