T4T Mathematicians Ask Questions (Lesson 4 of 6)

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Lesson Excerpt:


1.      Review vocabulary: taller/longer and shorter.

·         Introduce taller, longer, and shorter.  Have class use gestures to act out words. 

o   Move hand from floor to head to show tall, and floor to knee to show short.

o   Move hand from one side of the carpet to the other side to show long.  Move hand from one end of a floor tile to the other end of the tile to show short.

Note: Tall is a vertical measurement, while long is a horizontal measure of length.

·         Ask two students to go to the front of the room. Decide who is taller/shorter.  Then, look at their feet.  Discuss who has the longer/shorter feet.  Repeat several times.

·         Play a brief game of “I Spy Measurement”.  Pick a secret shape, and give a clue using a size word: taller, longer, or shorter.  For example:

o   I spy something that is taller than the teacher. (e.g., a smartboard or door)

o   I spy something that is shorter than my hand. (e.g., a block or sticky note)

o   I spy something that is longer than a pencil. (e.g., pencil box or desk)

·         As the class plays “I Spy Measurement”, encourage students to ask questions to determine the object.  For example, a student may ask: Is it the door?

2.      Relate today’s activity to the idea that mathematicians ask questions to collect information.

·         Say: In order to name the secret objects in our “I Spy Measurement” activity, you had to ask questions.  By asking questions, you were being mathematicians.  Mathematicians ask questions to gather information and decide if they have enough information to solve problems.  They also listen carefully for the answers.

3.      Provide directions for partner activity. 

·         Say: Mathematicians, now you and your partner will play “I Spy Measurement”.  This time, Partner A will find a secret object in the room and give Partner B a clue using a size word: taller, longer, or shorter.  Partner B, will ask questions to help you name the secret object.

·         Model playing “I Spy Measurement” with a partner.  Be sure to give an initial clue using a size word: taller, longer, or shorter

4.      Allow 5 minutes for students to complete partner activity. 

·         As students work, observe any areas of difficulty. 

·         Partners should pick a different object if it is not guessed after several attempts.

5.      Have class discussion about partner activity.

·         Have several students share questions they asked their partners.  Discuss how these questions helped them name the secret object. 

·         Summarize today’s lesson.  Say: Today we learned that mathematicians ask questions. Each time you asked a question, you learned more information.  By asking many questions, you were able to name your partner’s mystery object.  Mathematicians ask questions and listen carefully for the answers.

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