Science Sampler: The SI system on the basketball courtby: Trina Allen

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For many students, the metric system of SI units is so complex that it is shifted into the realm of the mystical and then forgotten. Here is a fun and easy inquiry-based activity to familiarize your students with the SI system using your school’s basketball court, football field, or other athletic grounds. The stages are deliberately redundant so that students think about the concepts being introduced and the purpose of the activity, which builds scientific reasoning skills.

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Reviews (2)
  • on Fri Mar 23, 2012 11:26 AM

The activities provided in this article would be very helpful to students who need to understand or review the SI systems of measurement. The four stage activity is good. The introductory Powerpoint™ cannot be located but searching on the Internet for a similar one might lead you to another more useful presentation. Personally, I would love to see a math teacher do this since I have found that many math teachers don’t present this system as science teachers do.

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

  • on Tue Oct 11, 2011 7:38 PM

'SI system on the basketball court' provided me with the appropriate framework to collaborate with other teachers within my school as well as for my students to demonstrate their knowledge of the importance of the metric system without having to take an exam. My students (11th graders) have had little exposure to the metric system and as a result, struggle with using the metric system or even understanding WHY we use the metric system. I used this activity as a summative assessment for my students. We invited the two fourth grade classrooms in our school to come to the science room and 2-3 older students worked with the younger students in understanding why we need a standardized system for measurements (the initial questions and activity). The older students then took the younger students to the gym to do the final activity and then led the discussion in the post-lab.

Kathryn Kennedy  (Saint Paul, MN)
Kathryn Kennedy (Saint Paul, MN)

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