Today in our period B MFM1P class we started investigating ratios and proportional reasoning.
We started using Dan Meyers 3-Act Math problem “Sugar Packets”. After watching the video, students were engaged and grossed out at the thought. Then, they were each given a different size of beverage (juice boxes, chocolate milk, small soda cans, large soda bottles, iced coffee, iced tea, gatorade and lower sugar gatorade, powerade, snapple, vitamin water, etc.). Groups had to figure out how many sugar packets were in each beverage container.
After collecting all that data, we talked about if this was a fair comparison to base our decisions on. Students decided that it was not fair because each container was a different size. Groups then began the difficult work of figuring out how to find the number of sugar packets in a 591 mL sized bottle of their beverage.
Some groups found a unit rate (number of sugar packets in 1 mL and then multiplied by 591 mL), some groups found out how many “times” larger the 591 mL bottle was and then multiplied the number of sugar packets by the same. Lastly, one group used an additive method to figure out how many of the smaller containers were in the larger one and then did the same thing to the sugar packets.
We consolidated by setting up ratios and then comparing a few different algebraic methods for solving it. We ended up with a great discussion on types of beverages, types of sugar (fruit sugar, liquid sugar, corn syrup) and ratios.
We started talking about our Proportional Reasoning Task #1 in class today. Students will create scale models or drawings (and explain how they did it) to demonstrate their understanding of ratios. They were given three options:
- Minecraft scale model – create a scale, find or measure the dimensions of an object or room and build a scale model in Minecraft
- Art enlargement – find or create a small image and enlarge it using a scale created by the student
- 3D Printed scale model – create a scale, find or measure the dimensions of an object and design a scale model of it. Then print using one of our 3D printers.
Of course, my very creative students pushed me to offer even more options. “Could we create a Lego scale model?”. Well, yes… that would be spectacular. Anything to show me that you understand ratios.
Much to my dismay, we have limited time to do this task. If we had my way, I’d do creative projects like this all semester and go really very deep. However, we have an amazing final task planned for this class which will relate back to this task. It will let us go much deeper. We will only have 2-3 periods to work on this one.
As teachers, we are moving so very far out of our comfort zones on this one. I had never played Minecraft before. Thanks to an OTF Co-op Ministry grant, I now have a server set up through the folks at Minecraft EDU and a world with 10 really neat workspaces for groups. I now know what it means to “teleport to spawn location”. Yikes. I’m much more comfortable with the 3D Printer, but to be honest the design aspect is still very new to me. I have not spent much time learning how different design programs work. My students in previous classes figured out what they need to design what they wanted. I spent the time troubleshooting the file types and 3D printer itself.
Some students in our class were worried because they bring their own tablets to class (not laptops) and the 3D design program I showed off works on laptops best. We solved that problem too. Students are pretty excited. About half chose Minecraft and half 3D printing. Only 1 or 2 chose the art task, which surprised me.
Our assessment will ultimately bebased on the presentation and explanation of how they chose their scale, and how they set up and solved ratios to determine 3 or 4 dimensions of their model. This may be done in Educreations, using a cell phone video camera, Explain Everything, using Camtasia screen capture on a laptop, conferencing with students or a presentation to the class.
The next couple of days are going to be crazy, insane and totally out of my comfort zone. If you have any tips or tricks for us, we’d greatly appreciate it. My fingers are crossed that this works out!