Measurement Man | Pumpkin Activities | Symmetric Faces | Coordinate Graphing | Student Work | Literature | Problem Solving
Students typically have difficulty in class and on testing with measurement topics.   Consider sprinkling measurement instruction over the course of the year so that students have a chance to use the measurement units and to become more familiar with these units.
Measurement Man is a great hands-on activity as students assemble the pieces which build on student experience with cut-paper fractions.   Students are able to visualize the relationship among these different units of capacity as they cut and assemble the figure.   While they can't bring Measurement Man into testing, many students can see him in their mind which helps them visualize the units more clearly.   Some teachers also encourage students to view their own arms and legs as quarts and pints.   They just need to remember that they only have four fingers or toes on each hand and foot.   Maybe the crows got one?
Measurement Man directions   are attached for your reference.   Consider adding a pointed cap and some raffia straw to create a field of scarecrows, just perfect for fall.
See picture of Measurement Man Scarecrow
Scarecrow Glyphs:  Check out the links for directions for scarecrow glyphs.
Make the most of seasonal pumpkins by building in some math measurement experiences. Be sure to include an estimating experience first.
Halloween masks become a math activity when students create Symmetric Faces.   See Symmetric Faces in the Geometry Section for directions to make these unique masks using 1.5 sheets of construction paper, scissors and glue.
Be sure to check out the Symmetric Faces Photo Gallery for pictures of symmetric faces to get your creative juices flowing.
Introduce elementary students to coordinate graphing through seasonal coloring activities.   The fall Jack-O-Lantern activity requires students to use the grid code and crayons or markers to create a jack-o-lantern on a blank 9x9 grid.   The use of letters on the horizontal axis and numbers on the vertical axis introduces young students to coordinate pairs without the confusion of the standard (h,v) format.   Notice that it is important that elementary students become accustomed to listing the horizontal coordinate first as this will transfer to the Cartesian coordinates they will use in later grades.
Download the Jack-O-Lantern coordinate graphing activity
Scarecrow "Measurement Man," pumpkin glyphs and Jack-o-Lantern Coordinate Graphs are examples of seasonal math activities that provide seasonal decorations while developing understanding of important mathematical concepts.
Mrs. Thal's fifth graders at Sycamore Drive School in Hazlet, NJ, made measurement man scarecrows to decorate the halls and learned a bit about measurements in the process.
Mrs. O'Flinn's, Mrs. Fabiano's, Mrs. Hummer's and Mrs. Howlett's classes took the Halloween Challenge.   These third grade students at Joseph C. Caruso School in Keansburg, NJ, had to make the jack-o-lantern in the picture symmetrical. Students were challenged to draw in the right side to make a mirror image of the left side.   Download the Symmetric Pumpkin template [PDF]
Ms. Collier's and Ms. Rachko's classes created Name-Collection spiders for Halloween.   These fourth grade students at Joseph C. Caruso School in Keansburg, NJ, extended the Everyday Math name-collection box routine to writing 8 different names for each number, one for each spider leg.
Mrs. Bestle's first graders at Port Monmouth Road School in Keansburg, NJ, created pumpkin glyphs.   Students had to read the legend then decide which shapes they needed to create their pumpkin glyphs.   Black construction paper squares below each Halloween glyph asked "Who Am I?" to encourage students to interpret the glyphs and decide which classmate had made each glyph.   After guessing, students could lift the flap to check the name.
Students in Mrs. Annuzzi's first grade at Port Monmouth Road School in Keansburg, NJ, enjoyed a pumpkin measurement lesson prepared by their student teacher, Ms. Davidson.   Students estimated the weight of two pumpkins then actually weighed them on the scale.   The first graders used string to measure the "girth" of the pumpkins and posted their strings on the board for reference.
Students in Mrs. Bestle's first grade created turkey glyphs that tell a story about how they celebrate Thanksgiving and what foods they like to eat on that special day.
The Biggest Pumpkin Ever by Stephen Kroll would be a great literature connection for the Huge Pumpkin Estimation Station discussed above or to introduce the class pumpkin sorting activity.
Bats on Parade by Kathi Appelt is a literary introduction to square numbers and the patterns they form as square arrays.   The bats march in parade formation and different sections of the band, being different sizes, march in different arrays: "In nine rows of nine those trombones reported, while there, right behind them, the tubas retorted."   The pictures and rhyme reinforce the mathematics of the patterns and teachers can easily ask students to predict how many bats will be in the next section or ask them to figure out how many bats are in the whole band before reading those pages.   Add this book to your collection of problem-solving literature prompts.
Bat Jamboree by Kathi Appelt introduces the triangular number pattern as bats assemble for the final number beginning with 10 bats in the bottom row, 9 in the next row, etc. to the very top row with 1 bat.   Students are introduced to the 55 bats in formation and their various acts but the book "isn't over until the bat lady sings."   Students will enjoy this introduction to an important mathematical pattern.   Teachers can find many problems that build upon this triangular number pattern and extend the experience.   Look for several penguin problems in the Winter Math Activities that will be available on November 1st. This set of problems builds on the triangular pattern and is sequenced to develop student understanding of the pattern and student use of appropriate tables and charts to organize and record data.
Bats Around the Clock by Kathi Appelt takes a humorous dance through time.   Click Dark and American Batstand introduce a new dance each hour.   Students move through time, enjoy some rhyme and learn the names of some oldie-but-goodie dances along the way.