We then grouped together and shared what we had discovered. Some of us felt we need to round measurements up or down for it to make sense and we then discussed how a tailor or dressmaker might use this knowledge in their jobs.
I introduced the concept of ratios and we might choose to use these as a way of expressing the lengths found.
What does it make us curious about?
We wanted to find out other connections the human body might have with measurements, so that's what we did. To help with our investigations, we first brainstormed body parts that we might not know the names of:
Partners were so excited each time they made a discovery of relationships body lengths had!
After 10 or so minutes of measuring, we started adding and grouping our discoveries on post it notes to the board under the ratios:
Loads of fascinating discoveries were being made and lots of interesting questions started emerging about how we can or cannot use ratios. Listening into the groups measuring, I thought about what made this activity so high energy and engaging to the children and came up with:
° It is student owned. They weren't given a list of possible body parts to measure and make connections from. They were coming up with their own hypotheses and testing them out.
° It is open-ended inquiry. No set answers, but tonnes to explore and discover.
° Everyone felt successful. Again, no 'right' or 'wrong' answers.
° Everyone felt a sense of pride at each ratio discovery they made.
° Easy connections to their own lives. It is their body, their life.
° Opportunities to think about number relationships in a meaningful and engaging way.
° Being introduced to a new maths concept (ratios) in a hands on and meaningful way.
° It was collaborative- kids helping each other to measure their body parts, sharing hypotheses, wondering together, discovering together.
It made me think of how these are some essential elements to making maths learning engaging and exciting for kids.
Some of our equal relationship discoveries:
° the length of our foot = the length of our forearm
° from the elbow to the fingertip = top of kneecap to ankle
° length from outstretched arms = height
° tip of nose to chin = height of forehead
Some of our double/half length discoveries:
° height of ear = 2 circumferences of wrist
° circumference of head =2 circumferences of neck
The penis to arm ratio length made me giggle (on the inside). We are just completing a unit of inquiry exploring puberty and human reproduction so it seemed perfectly alright for these boys to use this in their maths learning.....
We shared our discoveries and to reflect, we thought about 'big picture' understandings we gained from this learning experience:
It's important that children learn that maths is all around them and that it doesn't just exist in worksheets or dreary textbooks. Maths learning should be exciting, engaging and allow children to have the opportunity to investigate what they are curious about. This activity certainly ticked those off; the kids loved their maths learning today and many were still buzzing about wonderings or discoveries they had made as they left the room for lunch :)