Thursday, January 10, 2013

Fraction Fun & The Heat is On

I knew I enjoyed teaching and that I had a great group of students, but I had no idea just how much I missed it until I returned to school this week.  I was a little worried that I wouldn't be able to get back into the groove, but it really did feel good to be back in the classroom.  It helped that we were able to start some really fun units with lots of cool activities.

We've just started fractions in math, and I'm really trying to beef up my fraction lessons, because I want to create a complete third grade Common Core fractions unit in the near future.  {My poor students have to be the Guinea pigs on all of my new ideas.}  My class already had a pretty good grasp on the concept of fractions in an area model, so this week we're focusing on fractions on a number line and fractions in a set.  I absolutely LOVED the lesson we did using candy for fractions in a set.  I got the lesson from The First Grade Parade's Cara Carroll.  It is such an awesome activity!

I also learned an important lesson about practicing what I preach.  I didn't read carefully and bought the wrong thing!  I saw the Skittles logo and the number 8 and assumed there were eight bags of Skittles.  Much to my last minute surprise it was a combination of Starburst and Skittles.  I had to get someone to make a quick run to the Dollar Store for me, so I could have enough for everyone!  Don't you just love those last minute surprises!

We also began our heat unit this week, which is fun because there are many hands-on experiments we can do while studying heat.  Our first lesson was on sources of heat.  I used to think that would be such an easy concept for students, but I was wrong.  For some reason, they really have a difficult time identifying sources of heat.  I think they may get a little confused between sources of heat and insulators.  For example, they almost always think a jacket or blanket is a source of heat.  To help my students get a better grasp of this idea, I set up several stations around the room with different objects, and students had to go to each station to determine if the object was a source of heat.  If the item did produce heat, they also tried to identify the energy source of the item.

They rubbed sandpaper on pieces of wood.

They carefully, observed the heat produced by flame in the candle.

They felt the heat from a lamp.

They also found some things that do not product heat.

Here is a copy of the recording sheet that we used for the experiment.  You can click {here} or on the picture for a copy:)



Congrats on your progress and I expect it is a trance.
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