Continuation from Last Week
This week we were able to launch our catapults and complete our project from last week. Not once, not twice but four times! Let me introduce you to the catapults.
From Table 1, with a high flying fling, please welcome The Catapult!
From Table 2, with a simple but powerful shot, please welcome The Catapult!
And last but not least from Table 3, with the furthest-going projectile, please welcome The Catapult!
These three catapults competed against each other in the initial launch. The next day their catapulting abilities were put to the test as everyone discovered what happens when the mass of an object increases and the motion that this growing mass creates. Conclusion: The greater the mass, the shorter distance it will travel with the same amount of force. This also means, the greater the mass, the greater the force needed to move it.
Before we did anything with fractions, I asked the students three questions. What are fractions? Which cookie would you rather have a half? (giving them the choice between two cookies of varying sizes). Where can we use fractions in daily life?
After some silent contemplation, we discussed. We decided that a fraction was ” a whole divided into equal parts.” Everyone naturally wanted the larger cookie half which led us to talking about different wholes equal a different sized fraction. Then we started talking about why on earth we study fractions at all. What’s the point? When will we ever use fractions again? The students came up with dividing sections within a group (especially in sports), sharing, baking, and shopping (especially with coupons). Then I pointed out to them photography is all about fractions. As you have probably already realized and as I have mentioned earlier, I love to use photography to tell a visual story. I have noticed that bringing in my excitement for something in the classroom makes the students excited.
We talked about shutter speed that is written as a fraction of a second. It is the amount of time that the shutter stays open. A faster shutter speed with a larger denominator (ex 1/1000) can freeze motion like water drops or a speeding car. A slower shutter speed with a smaller denominator (ex 1/20) would blur motion creating a misty water or a blur of motion as a car zooms by the photographer.
Then we talked about aperture, or how wide the shutter is. The wider the opening, the smaller the number. The smaller the opening, the larger the number. I confessed to the children that this confused me initially until my brother told me to look at it like a fraction. 1/5 is bigger than 1/22 so f/5 is larger than f/22
With that, I allowed the children to practice their new photography skills by taking pictures on my two cameras. Below is their work as they tested out different settings and discovered more about fractions.
The next day we created fraction strips to help us to understand what a fraction is. We also used these to understand and discover equivalent fractions. After only just a few days with fractions, fractions don’t seem as scary anymore.