In math this week this sixth grade labelled arrows for multiplication and for division in an arrow picture; played a factor string game; used a circle model to find mixed names for fractions, and to add and subtract fractions with like denominators; and used an area model to introduce adding fractions with unlike denominators. The arrow diagram lesson was a mental math and logic challenge. The picture is continuously added to, increasing in complexity. The students must use the information that is already available to fill in each new addition to the picture. The available labels asked the students to look at compositions of multiplying, dividing and both, as well as required using against or inverse arrows when necessary. It was a tough brain exercise. I was really impressed with the students drive and focus in the factor game. The set-up of the game is two teams trying to gain points for their side and solve for string picture titles. Each string picture is “factors of ___” and the blank can be any number between 1 and 50. The teams alternate turns to guess a number. If the number in one string it is worth a point and if the number is in both strings it is worth two points. Guessing the title of a string correctly is worth four points while making an incorrect guess loses a point. The students put their heads together and showed great teamwork as they played the game. The fraction lesson reviewed converting between improper fractions and mixed numbers through circle models, gradually asking the students to complete the conversions without a model. This concepts is one that needs to be repeated often and each time the students enter it more quickly, allowing success and involvement. This is also true of adding fractions. Students of all levels often fall back on adding the numerators together and adding the denominators together. Using the circle diagram helps remind them that the sum of like fractions is found by adding only the numerators. The denominator name such as fifths or eights was highlighted as portion of something, not a number in and of itself to be added. The fractions lesson concluded by cutting two squares into different fractional denominations and looking at the difference in the quantity of each fractional piece. The students are then asked to add further “cuts” so that the portions are dividing into equal quantity pieces and equivalent fractions with like denominators so that the fractions can be added. It is a great visual aid for adding unlike fractions and it is spiraled in for many of the future CSMP lessons.
In science, the students finished graphing the survey of class traits. We then looked at what the heredity patterns are for the traits. The students cannot get enough of it and were disappointed when the online document explaining the traits ended. It also added to the discussion of why the traits are not always an easy “yes” or “no” as many are controlled by multiple genes and/or both nature and nurture are involved. As we completed the activity, the vocab for the unit was in play and students were required to understand the use of the language such as genes, alleles, dominant and recessive, heterozygous and homozygous, inheritance, genotype and phenotype, etc. The students had a reading and questions on genetics in their text for homework and one student said that it was so interesting they wanted to read it more than once!
Suggestions for school related conversation topics and activities for the weekend:
Play the factor string game. You will need at least three people- two to be the competitors and one to facilitate. The facilitator places the number guessed (they know the answer to the blanks) and keeps track of the score. To play the game draw two overlapping circles and label one “factors of ____” and the other “factors or ______.” As the players take turns guessing, place each number in either string, in the middle overlapped section, or outside of both of the strings. The facilitator needs to be able to quickly decide if the guess is a factor of one, both or neither to place it correctly!
Ask your student to translate a whole number into a fraction with various denominators such as “how many sevenths make up the whole number 5?”
Ask your student how many full “pizzas” and “leftover” slices make up an improper fraction such as 21/5.
Do a few problems adding fractions with LIKE denominators such as ⅙ + 4/6. Invite them to draw a circle diagram (circles cut into sixth for this problem) and color it in add the denominator when they answer.
Check out this interactive timeline on the study of genetics: https://unlockinglifescode.org/timeline?tid=4
If you’re up for a tough conversation, talk about some pros and cons of genetic modifications.