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Connected Mathematics Project :
Looking for Squares

Content Strand:

Lisa Brown

Kealing Middle School, TX
Grade 8

Project Director:
Yvonne Grant

35 minutes

Looking for Squares: The goal of this lesson is for students to develop an early understanding of the concept of square root as the length of a side of a square. They begin by finding the area of a square and looking at the dimensions. Students work in pairs to find as many squares as possible that will fit in a 5x5 grid. Finding areas for squares that are not vertical to the grid is perplexing to some students. Those who have mastered the strategy share their procedure and mathematical reasoning with the class. Together the class determines the relationship between area and side length using a variety of examples beginning with area, then beginning with side length. The teacher assesses their strategy and introduces the term square root relating the length of a side to the area of a square. A student inquires about odd numbers and numbers like five, which leads the class into an investigation of estimation strategies for finding square roots.

Middle Grades MATH Thematics:
The STEM Project: Body Ratios

Content Strand: Number

Cary Tuckey

North Kirkwood Middle School
Kirkwood, MO
Grade 6

Project Director:
Jim Williamson

45 minutes

Body Ratios: "Twice round the thumb is once round the wrist," said the Lilliputians in Gulliver's Travels. Students here investigate whether or not the Lilliputians, who used this ratio to make a shirt for the giant Gulliver, were right. The lesson demonstrates the integrated approach to mathematics that the MATH Thematics Curriculum takes, with students using and gaining knowledge and skills in number sense, ratios, fractions, measurement, making predications, analysis, and geometric concepts. After exploring and interpreting several different body ratios, students determine how tall Gulliver would be if a Lilliputian's average height were that of a sixth grader. The lesson extends to the outdoors, where students make a life-size outline of a shirt for Gulliver.