Last week in literacy, a group of students began researching whales and created a group called Whale Watchers. The Whale Watchers have their own logo and their goal is to save whales. We took their passion for whales and integrated it into our math topic of measurement. We combined Ms. Maile and Ms. James’ math groups and with the help of Mrs. Clifton, we had a two-day whale investigation. The first day consisted of students finding whales, recording the lengths of each whale, and estimating the lengths of each type of whale. Students used their feet, bodies and objects in the classroom to determine the estimation of their assigned whale. Once each group had their estimated length, they taped a piece of string down to represent their measurement. After our estimations, we discovered that the Beluga whale, which is 14 feet long, had the longest string. We talked about how using different tools for measurement can give us different results.
On the second day, we began by reading Millions to Measure by David M. Schwartz. During our reading we talked about the importance of standard measurement. Therefore, students used feet to measure the actual length of their whales. Since each group was given one foot to use, they used counting bears or snap cubes to mark each foot. There was discussion about how whales could fit in our classroom if we had an aquarium big enough or how many whales of the smaller kind could equal the largest whale.