How Much Popcorn Will Our Classroom Hold?by: Katie Rommel-Esham

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How much popcorn will our classroom hold? This intriguing question sparked a terrific integrated science and math exploration that the author conducted with fifth-and sixth-grade students. In the process of finding the classroom’s volume, students developed science-process skills (e.g., developing a plan, measurement, collecting and interpreting data, prediction, inference, communication, and using number relationships) and applied mathematical process (determining an estimate, using benchmarks, measuring, mapping, etc.) in a meaningful way—getting an authentic glimpse of how these two subjects are inextricably linked.

  • Elementary
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Reviews (4)
  • on Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:56 PM

Great idea reading Bear story! Students like books read out loud and then making a connection. Clever details tying in the Bear book and popcorn with area, perimeter and volume.Real life and story life connection!

Wilma Mysak  (Spring, TX)
Wilma Mysak (Spring, TX)

  • on Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:42 AM

After a reading of the Bear story about Popcorn, students are challenged to determine how much popcorn their classroom will hold. They develop their plans and then are given a number of simple tools to determine the volume of the classroom. This is a good article that ties math and science through the understanding of volume. The reader could easily reproduce this same activity.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Tue Apr 05, 2011 10:15 PM

This engaging activity is a "MUST DO" if you encourage problem solving, and inquiry based learning! One of the top lessons I've seen integrating Math and Science. Volume, perimeter, area, length, width...this project has it all. Detailed explanation and highly engaging for students to write descriptive, narrative or procedural styles as a follow-up in their science journals!

Alyce Dalzell  (Peyton, CO)
Alyce Dalzell (Peyton, CO)

  • on Tue Oct 03, 2017 2:27 PM

This article describes an activity for upper elementary students to find the volume of their classroom creatively combines math and science. Number relationships is one of the key mathematical principles or “Big Ideas” in Number Sense and Numeration. It is important to emphasize number relationships with students to help them learn how numbers are interconnected and how numbers can be used in meaningful ways. It is also indispensable of science learning. In this activity, teachers start the lesson with a book called the Bear story to elicit the question: How many liters of popcorn do you think it would take to fill our classroom? Students brainstorm the methods of fill classroom by popcorn. After discussion, students develop their own plan in groups. They find the volume by carry out their plan. Finally, students share their process to measure the volume and their answers. When the reports were completed, teachers and students took a class discussion on the similarities and differences in plans, materials, procedures, and the results of each of the groups. Therefore, students can rethink about their own process and learn from the discussion. This article integrated science and math exploration by engaging students in researching the classroom’s volume. Students can develop science-process skills and apply mathematical process by using number relationships. In conclusion, number relationships play an important role in both math and science. In the future, it is crucial to emphasise the importance to my students in my class.


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