Seashells & Benchmark Fractions, Measuring and Creating a Line Plot: Combining Science & Math

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SWBAT measure a set of objects using standard measurement and create a line plot using the data.

Big Idea

Teams of students measure seashells in inches and practice identifying benchmark fractions in measurement. They create a line plot with this data and learn to analyze the data using the plot.

Warm Up: Shells, Background, Measuring and Plotting Data

10 minutes

Line Plots and Sea Shells Data Sheet Resource

Reasearcher's Grid

 Prep before the lesson: ( I suggest you copy the SB file for a paper resource for your students or email it to them to use on their iPad as they work. This enables them to have a reference close at hand.)

*16-21 samples of one species of mollusk shell, baggies & envelopes enough for your class to work in groups of 3. I varied the size of the shells in the sample.

*Student worksheet.

* Enough small slips of paper and envelopes for your groups.

* Standard rulers.

* Paper plates to count and keep shells together.

Seashells and Line Plots SB Lesson Guide

Warm Up: I opened up the SB file and started the lesson today by talking about how much I love shells and how I have been interested in them for a long time. I briefly discussed how shells are formed and how they grow.

I then reviewed benchmark fractions. We discussed what benchmark fractions were and why they were important. Students were able to recall how to make a line plot as we worked together to create one on the Whiteboard together.

I turned to the next SB page to discuss my expectations for today's lesson and how it was going to roll out. We then reviewed team jobs.

Jobs on Team:

Researcher: Looks up specifications on shell after proper name is identified. This person checks to find out how large the shell can become and fills out a gathering grid with researched data and any evidence of adaptations. (Science Standard).

Measurer : Does the first measurement. They suggest the nearest benchmark fraction.

Checker: Checks measurement and rounds it to the nearest benchmark fraction affirming the Measurer's decision. All team members must agree.

Recorder: Each team member takes turns recording data on the chart.

After measurements are recorded, each team member takes turns plotting the line plot by using the measurement and determining the benchmark fraction. There are plenty of shells that allow a student to plot more than one measurement.

I emphasized how important it was to be accurate and therefore the "Checker" was an important role. I also talked about writing neatly, explaining clearly and thinking about their work as they plotted. I asked them to look at the sizes and think about how the plot shows them information about their set of shells. The next page on the SB describes the tasks and what is expected.  It guides them through the tasks step by step so that groups can work collaboratively. I told them that we would have one half hour to do our research and plot our measurement data. They needed to work quickly to measure and record as many shells a possible and get research information written in their gathering grid.





Group Work: Measuring, collecting data and creating a group line plot.

30 minutes

In groups of 2 to 3, students measured approximately 16 or more shells of the same species. They looked up the name of the species supplied on a Google doc on iPad. Mitchell Guide After they identified the name, they opened the mystery envelope and found out the real name of the shell and compared to see if they were right in their research. This just added some fun and assigned a little more meaning behind their data collection.

I created teams with mixed levels and struggling students were pulled out for a modified version of the lesson.

 When complete: Students will analyze data by looking at the number of sea shells they measured, the largest and smallest measurements, and then develop three word problem questions about their line plot  that include comparisons, addition and subtraction to fully master the standard. Lastly, they will photos of their work with an iPad for further technology homework assignment.

 I asked questions and roved about viewing how students were working. I had some concerns about accuracy and was checking to see how measuring was being done. At this point, I started to realiz that perhaps I had misjudged how quickly these shells could be measured. Things seemed to be moving too slowly.

I discovered that one team had directly created the plot, completely ignoring the worksheet resource I had given them. They were right, accurate and simply had been problem solvers without the guided worksheet.

When it was time to stop, I gave direction to students to plan what they were going to say about their data. Only one group did not have their measurements plotted by the end of class..


Wrap up: Sharing Data and Discovery

10 minutes

We gathered in a circle around the room, students standing with their groups, data sheets in hand. I started the sharing with the first group. I told them that I wanted them to share the name of their shell and what fraction benchmark measurements contained the greatest amount and least amount of samples. Each group presented in numerical order, showing us their shell and presenting their data. All were engaged. Lots of good discussion about shells and line plots was going on!

To close up the sharing I asked: Why are line plots a helpful tool to organize data? Students shared their ideas, all of which were logical. Most students agreed that after measuring so many shells, seeing the measurements on the line plot helped them see the "regular" ( average) size of their samples. I asked if the "average" length matched their data from their research. They hadn't looked at that! From this and from their sharing, I could see how the standard was unfolding and starting to be mastered by all, with the exception of the one group who hadn't gotten to plot their graph yet.  I told them that now they would be using their data and the word problems they had created to prove their understanding using technology in their homework assignment.


Developing a Presentation of their Line Plot Through Technology

5 minutes

Using Teach ap or Educreations: Students developed a presentation of their data using research of their specific shell, demonstrated understanding of adaptations of that specific mollusk, and included  their line plot of their set of shells, and word problems. Since the work was group work, it was necessary for them to photograph the work they did with their team.

Later, after the lesson, I went through the homework instructions on the SB file. Seashells and Line Plots SB Lesson Guide. I explained each of the expectations of their tech lesson to them. They would be presenting this the next day for a group of senior citizens. I emailed each of my students the copy of the SB file so they had a copy for their use at home and that there would be no question about my high expectations. I explained that they were creating this project to demonstrate to the community how we use technology to prove our mastery of standards.

I modified the homework for two students I was working with because they were not ready to do such a detailed homework lesson. I expected that they got the line plot created and then use their work to make an Educreations presentation with just the data and plot.  These students need more practice with measuring yet. Adjusting work to the levels and needs of students is important as they master standards because the concept is about mastery...whatever it takes to master a standard must be implemented. For these students, simply charting the line plot would be all they could master.