Teaching Rounding using Coding and Dash the Robot

posted Sep 30, 2016, 4:07 PM by Patrick Johnson
Today in math, students learned about rounding numbers to the nearest group of ten. This lesson incorporated Dash the Robot and the iPad coding app Blocky.

First, we created a number line together across the classroom. Each line across the classroom (made by the floor tiles) represented 2 units. We marked ever group of 10 on our number line up to 50. Each group of 10 was designated as a charging station for Dash. Students also marked the digits that ended with a 5 (e.g. 25) with a piece of tape. We practised driving Dash along the number line. Student identified the number on the line which Dash stopped (e.g. 33) and the closest charging station it would round to (e.g. 30). 

We also drove Dash so he landed on a digit ending in 5 (for example 45). We decided that Dash would round to the 50 charging station even though it was at an equal distance to the 40 charging station. Better to keep going forwards on your journey then double back if it is the same distance (the rules of rounding).

Next students were given the challenge below:

In groups of 2 or 3, students coded dash to move along the number line. Experienced coders were paired up with less experienced coders. Some of the codes ended up being quite elaborate!

Finally students tested their code. When Dash stopped, students identified the number he stopped at. Students recorded that number and the number of the closest charging station (rounding) on a chart.

After this activity, students recorded the rules of rounding in their Math Toolbox books (similar to math dictionaries).