A big focus in 5th grade math is making abstract concepts concrete so we can understand them more deeply and think about them more flexibly. Last week in 5th grade, we began thinking about and exploring decimal fractions - and it can be rather abstract to think about quantities as small as one millionth (0.000001). So, we began with a challenge. Students worked in groups with a task to create a model that would represent one whole, one tenth, one hundredth, and one thousandth. They could use hundreds grids, tape, scissors, and colored pencils. At first students were puzzled and they had to rely on each other for ideas and support to think through the task. However, each group created a way of modelling these quantities. What always stands out to me when students are given freedom to explore, visualize and solve problems in math is that they often come up with very different, and yet equally accurate, solutions. This activity was no different. After students completed their models, they shared them with the class and we celebrated how we all see and think differently.
Check out their different models in the accompanying picture!
Located in the Central District, Seattle Girls' School is an independent school for girls and gender nonconforming students in grades 5-8. Our mission is to inspire and develop courageous leaders who think independently, work collaboratively, learn joyfully, and champion change.