By Amy Berg. 6th Grade Math. Published at Wednesday, December 02nd, 2020 - 12:06:20 PM.
Every year students and parents alike become involved in school science projects. From the simplest projects with only the most basic materials to highly complex experiments, all projects should be considered important to the education of the students. Generally speaking, students at the second grade level are not expected to produce projects with the sophistication that might be expected at the 6th grade or 7th grade, but all project content should be original in nature. While many parents are able to provide their students with costly materials to construct their projects, other parents do not have that capability. That may seem unfair, but it should also be noted that many projects can be constructed with low cost or even free materials. Some school districts have the capability to provide students with materials for their school science projects. If that option is not available, local businesses may be encouraged to participate by providing money or materials. The central idea should be that no student be denied the option of being involved because of financial concerns.
We play a rendition of childhood game, Pin the Tail on the Donkey, where I ask the kids to tape index cards containing the changes that happen during puberty on the appropriate gender symbol. Yes, more giggly! We then move on to basic anatomy and physiology, including an overview of the brain, glands, the pituitary gland, hormones, testosterone and estrogen, followed a discussion of the sperm, the egg, menstrual periods, wet dreams and ejaculation. The giggly is over, replaced with an occasional exclamation "Ewwwww, thats gross!" These outbursts are consistently normalized by reinforcement that the body is an amazingly intelligent and complex machine; that the miracle of life is indeed a miracle; and that each child in the room is, in fact, a miracle. We take some time for questions and then move on to an introduction to the emotional changes that happen during puberty as a set up for our next class.
The Douglas Academy Current and former students, community members and staff from the San Antonio Schools staff gathered in the historic auditorium of Douglass Academy on Sept. 26 for a homecoming celebration and dedication ceremony to mark the completion of a major construction and renovation project at the school. "Douglass Academy has a rich history and tradition. Our children here have inherited that history and they have the potential to become all that they want to be," said District Superintendent Dr. Robert J. Durón on the stage where legend has it that Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday and B.B. King once performed.
But enough with the games, lets talk some serious stuff. If you want to learn math, do a project like decorating a room. Do the whole works from calculating the paint or wallpaper, to calculating the material and sewing the drapes, to ordering and positioning the furniture. Design a new cabinet layout for your kitchen, including calculating cabinet dimensions, appliance positioning and project costs. Try building something like a drop desk or a play ground swing set, or a go-cart. How about doing a baking or sewing/quilting project? Do all the preparations for a dinner party, including the planning, shopping, seating arrangement, cooking, etc. Try paper trading some stock and track them for a year. Start an eBay business. Wow! Wouldnt that be something, having your childs math project turn into a home-based business that pays for your childs college education? Its possible and its real life.
Day 3 I recap the process they have been through over the past couple of days. I set some boundaries and expectations for the conversation we are about to have. Respect Gets Respect is our mantra. What happens next is amazing. Giggly is long gone, replaced with a real desire to listen, learn and understand. A valuable conversation ensues. Every once in a while the kids need to be redirected and reminded about the boundaries. Good facilitation is the key... and I am great at that. And practicing new skills makes perfect... which is exactly what the kids are doing. Lots and lots of great questions. To be honest, the kids ask the kinds of questions that many adults strive to sort out in their own efforts to understand and appreciate gender differences. A significant amount of time was spent on the theme, "Why cant they be more like us?" The boys wanted the girls to be more like them. The girls wanted the boys to be more like them.
It turns out that architects do use math regularly, but they dont use very complicated or advanced math in their day-to-day careers. Architects need to be fully fluent in ratios and proportions, comfortable with basic geometry, and have strong spatial skills. They dont routinely use complicated algebra, trigonometry, or calculus. True, those branches of math are used to build major buildings and bridges- but it is the engineers, not the architects who generally do the number crunching. Similarly, I know a pediatric nurse practitioner who considers her career a calling and is, by any measure, good at her job. Shes not afraid of math, but she doesnt exactly like it either. Early in her training she assumed that shed be using quite a bit of math in her job because people had always told her that math was important for medical professionals. Now, she does use math- and its incredibly important that she get the math right every time- but the math itself is very simple and repetitive. In essence, she uses proportions to calculate medicine dosage, and thats about it.
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