Applying Scientific Notation - Formative Assessment Lesson Continued

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Students will be able to estimate lengths of everyday objects, convert between decimal and scientific notion, and make comparisons of the size of numbers expressed in both decimal and scientific notation.

Big Idea

Engage students in a collaborative card match activity that applies decimal and scientific notion to estimate lengths of common objects.

Review of Framing the Lesson

5 minutes

You spent 20 minutes framing the lesson yesterday so you do not need to recreate the entire session.  However, it has been 24 hours since your students saw and probably thought about the activity.  You do want to complete a short review of the framing activity (maybe through discussion using the PowerPoint slides) just to prepare your students’ minds for the work ahead.  It’s like the song from High School Musical “Get Your Head in the Game,” you have to get your students’ heads in the activity so they are working productively.  However, the bulk of the class period must be devoted to completing the card match collaborative activity.


Again, all materials referenced as Teacher Guide pages (T-#) or Student Pages (S-#) are located in the PDF file linked to the bottom of the lesson webpage on the MARS website.  This PDF is the complete lesso plan and student materials for this activity.


Clarifying and Sharing Learning Intentions and Criteria for Success


Completing the Collaborative Activity (Card Match)

40 minutes

The goal for today is that students will complete the card match activity including sets A, B, and C.  Card set C is challenging and students will need at least the 20 minutes stated in the teacher guide on pages T-6 and T-7.  Each set of cards becomes progressively more difficult and will require more time to complete, but each set is very important and should be used.  One of the biggest issues students have is organizing the layout of the cards.  Many students become overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of cards and begin to struggle with productively applying set C.  I suggest passing out the large poster paper and allowing them to move cards around change the layout of the poster before you hand them a glue stick.  Glue, should be the absolute last step in the entire process.  For poster paper, larger than legal size works well and so does taping multiple sheets of paper together.  Some teachers use small sections of bulletin board paper but that can get expensive.  Follow the teacher guide; pages T-6 and T-7 for finishing the card match and then lastly gluing posters.  Make sure you are moving about the room assessing different approaches to the activity and providing feedback to students.


One word of advice, some groups will not finish the poster activity.  Students are homogeneously grouped and naturally work at different speeds. Some groups will finish and glue to make beautiful posters (though don’t panic if again the posters are not 100% correct – learning happened during the discussion time).  These early groups may even have time for the extension activity discussed on page T-7 of the teacher guide.  Other groups will finish the card match but run out of time to glue.  Students like to have a finished product and if you have a system of dealing with this unfinished work then great.  However, I have never heard of glue creating long-term memory.  What I mean by this is, the process of creating the matches is when the learning happens, not the process of attaching paper to paper with glue.  If cards are not completely glued down, students can still have a productive learning experience.  Still other groups will not even complete the card match because they will struggle and take longer to make each match.  The third type of group is up to your professional judgment.  If you have a schedule that allows you to pull these students back to complete the activity then wonderful, pull them back.  If you do not have this luxury, then it is fine to know that these students learned from the matches they did complete but they may have a smaller poster than other groups.  Whatever you decide, be prepared for students to reach differing levels of “complete.”

 I like to take all completed posters home and review student work as an interim formative assessment prior to administering the post assessment.  I also select posters or parts of posters to feature in the whole class discussion on the following day.  I usually use my iPad to photograph student work and upload to Edmodo or my website for class discussion the next day.  I also like to hang the posters in my room or outside in the hallway as we finish the unit and prepare for the exam.

Activating students as owners of their own learning

 Activating Students as Resources for One Another

 Cooperative Grouping Explained

Providing Feedback that Moves Learning Forward


Finishing the Posters

5 minutes

The last five minutes of the class period should be spent gluing posters (save the glue until the very end if you want clean posters), and then cleaning up the supplies.  I like to give students a five-minute count down so my room is not a mess when the bell rings.  During this time, you need to be meeting with each group who is far from completing the poster and discuss a plan for either completing the poster at a later time or simply finishing a smaller poster using only some of the cards.  Again, the goal of today is to complete the card match and poster-creating phase of the activity.

I am also including a sample of pre and post assessment work from the same student who completed this same activity in my classroom last year.  The goal of these assessments is to show growth through completing the activity.  The post assessment may not be perfect, but it should be improved from the pre-assessment.