Reflection: Complex Tasks What Is Scale? - Section 5: Converting to a Model Size Day 3


Shrinking things down to relative size, or using a scale, is not easy for a child to grasp without clear visuals. When I drew my slide really small on the board, and the tower that holds it really large, the students could clearly see that the slide would not fit on the tower as it did on the playground. When I drew the students the wrong relative sizes, the students also quickly recognized my mistake. Using the concrete examples helped my students to see that the relative size, or scale of 2 objects makes a difference in a real model. 

I tried to use my hands, students and drawings to make sure students understood what I was saying. I had them explain to me why I had to make sure things were correctly to scale (even in size to one another). At one point a child said, "you could draw the tower and then just put the slide on it." I drew a small tower and then drew a very long slide from the tower, even though the students knew that the slide was short. When I drew it, they all laughed and said, "No, that's not right." This gave me yet another chance to help clarify this complex task. 

Students had more trouble with the concept and less with going from measuring an object as 12 feet and then making it 12 inches long. Units of measure are still not clear to students so they did not question going from feet to inches. Their pipe cleaner structures were very close to the measurements they had taken outside. 

The entire 3 day lesson was needed to help students scaffold from some things are big and some are little, and we can draw them close to relative size, to I need to make sure this slide is 12 inches long so it will fit the tower.

  Shrinking Things Down To Size
  Complex Tasks: Shrinking Things Down To Size
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What Is Scale?

Unit 1: What Do Scientists Do?
Lesson 13 of 14

Objective: SWBAT identify how things can be represented by scale models

Big Idea: Big is big, little is little. What happens when we use little to show big?

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