Measuring Up: A Simple Lesson That Engages Students in Scientific Practices and Mathematicsby: Daniel Capps

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Students compare arm spans by measuring, graphing, and practicing important science skills. This lesson helps to incorporate mathematical standards from the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and scientific practices from the new Framework for Science Education.

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Reviews (6)
  • on Fri Jun 20, 2014 8:33 AM

This article is interesting in regards to the Science by Inquiry approach. However, this could easily formatted into the 5Es style of teaching both science and mathematics. A student could make a prediction regarding arm length, measure the actual length of their arm and compare the prediction with the actual measured length. This article has prompted me to reflect on the graphing arena. This is simply another interesting means for students to collect data and extend that data to real world connections. The article discusses prediction and problem solving. I thought the article was interesting, and it simply provoked thought that led to more applicable ideas regarding data collection and graphing.

Tommy Jerome Baxter
Tommy Jerome Baxter

  • on Thu Mar 06, 2014 5:12 PM

History tells us that Leonardo da Vinci was influenced by a man named Vitruvius. Vitruvius, during the first century B.C., discovered a formula to model what he thought were ideal proportions for a man. Da Vinci used this ideal model when drawing the Vitruvian Man in about the year 1490. This article shows how this relationship can be turned into a three day activity that deals with scientific principles and mathematics. While the activity is certainly not new the article shows how the NGSS can blend with Common Core math standards while providing students with an engaging activity.

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

  • on Wed Oct 17, 2012 4:39 PM

Great description on how to incorporate mathematic practices into science inquiry learning. I like the fact that this article's description can support STEM inclusion. I am recommending that my campus leaders disseminate to their departments.

Yolanda Smith-Evans  (Houston, TX)
Yolanda Smith-Evans (Houston, TX)

  • on Tue Sep 18, 2012 7:27 PM

Depending upon the content level of the class and the skills that a teacher wishes to build, this activity may be modified to be shorter or expanded into an interesting open-inquiry activity. Some students shy away from using anthropomorphic data that reflect personal physical measurements but if presented with sensitivity, most students enjoy applying skills in measuring and recording data and making comparisons among science friends to discover relationships between hand, arm, and foot dimensions. As a classroom implementer, I would encourage measurement and discovery in one day and what-if and explorations in a second day. Early in the year, I also would involve the students in designing a rubric so that they feel more empowered to extend their analysis and to look ‘out of the box’ for innovative ideas. The article merits consideration since it takes a traditional data measurement approach and develops it at another point in time when educators are re-examining how science and math hold hands together.

Patricia  (Arlington, VA)
Patricia (Arlington, VA)

  • on Thu Aug 23, 2012 7:33 PM

This is a fun lesson to begin the year with to help students understand the process of gathering, recording and interpreting data. Students are always genuinely surprised to find there is a relationship between so many body parts. It’s fun to watch them take off and explore on their own to find other relationships I have not presented them with. The rubric given is okay, I wish it were more in depth for middle school. I realize this is the beginning of the year, but I like to have a more rigorous standard to measure what students know. To remedy this, I use the rubric I hand out in class that is used throughout the year to measure student understanding of any written lab. By doing this, I am introducing students to my expectations for written labs as well as allowing me to see what students know in terms of accuracy in measurement, recording and interpreting data.

Sandy Gady  (Renton, WA)
Sandy Gady (Renton, WA)

  • on Thu Aug 23, 2012 12:17 PM

In this article the author presents a lesson incorporating both math and science. Students measure various parts of their bodies like arm length, hand span, foot length, and height to make comparisons. An example data chart would have been helpful to the article.

Betty Paulsell  (Kansas City, MO)
Betty Paulsell (Kansas City, MO)

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