Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Converting Measures

I am going rogue with my lesson on measurement conversions.  I am leaving the book's explanation and doing my own.  I always try to be fairly consistent with the textbook.  I know that students and parents will reference it.  So, I don't want to create frustration between "the way I taught it" and "the way the book says to do it" when parents are trying to help.

My decision to go rogue started last night when I sat reading the lesson on converting measures and I was having difficulty designing anything.  A foldable didn't seem to fit the lesson, a graphic organizer didn't seem quite right, and just a page of plain notes didn't quite work.  It was just one of those lessons where it felt like the pieces didn't come together exactly.  So I slept on it.

This morning, I realized that what didn't seem to connect for me was the equation that the text was using.  There were a lot of subtle concepts that the students had to understand to make the equation work well.  Students had to understand which units are being canceled and understand how units increase and decrease numerically when you convert in order for the equation to work out right.  I know that their will be questions as to why we wrote the conversion as 3 ft = 1 yd and not 1 yd = 3ft.  Proportions seemed like the natural course to teach these conversions.  So I designed the chart below:

I decided that WKU (Words-Known-Unknown) would be a better way to get students to correctly set up and solve these conversion problems, introduce proportions, and set them up better for how the book will later work with proportions.  I also decided that this was a good time to get them to notice that the units line up, hence the color.  Highlighting the measurement words in the problem will assist then in figuring out the known conversion to use and to set up the order of the proportion.  The only concession that I made using this was that I will just teach them a procedure for solving the proportion verses setting up the algebraic equation.  We'll emphasize that later in the text.  Right now it is about correctly converting between measures.

If you would like this, you can download it here.

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