graders build bridges
Colleen Sonnen’s 8th grade pre-algebra students ended their junior high math year with a bridge building competition. The rules were simple. Build a bridge out of toothpicks and glue! The class was divided into teams of 4-5 students, each with a given job. There was a project director who oversaw the group and kept the project moving along. An architect drew the design on graph paper for the team with given specifications for height and width. The design could be as original as they wanted but it had to follow a building code. The carpenters were in charge of building the bridge and followed the plans exactly as draw by the architect. The accountant was the person who ran the checkbook of 1.5 million dollars and bought the supplies for the team. The accountant was also checked by an audit firm. The transportation employee was the only one who could get the supplies from the warehouse for the team.
The students had 8 days to build their bridge. The bridges were graded on design, neatness of construction, and clarity of the architect plans. The grades reflected if the teams followed their build code and if their checkbooks balanced with the audits given by the local “Sonnen Accounting Firm”. After being graded the bridges had one final test to go through, how much weight it will take to break them! The teams carefully set their bridges up on the platform to be broken. A system of a bucket and lead shot was the breaking device. Each bridge was broken and the winner, breaking at 94 7/8 pounds was Bob the Builder Team. The winning team members were: Makayla Schaeffer, McKenzie Candelot, Ashley Ross, Monica Lustig and Samantha Keating. The other bridges held 13 ½, 17 7/8, 23 ½, 29 7/8, 36 3/8 and 38 ¾ pounds.
This project is multifaceted. It allows the students to learn teamwork, gives them a small incite to running a business, how to meet deadlines and different career opportunities. The math lessons include geometry, accounting, and a bit of physics. What a SMASHING WAY to end 2 great years of junior high math!
Who likes to play board games?
Who likes to play board games? Who likes math? Who thinks they can design a board game that will teach math concepts to other students? Those were the questions put before Colleen Sonnen’s 7th grade math students at Prairie Middle School. Groups were put through the paces of how to design and build a board game. They had to come up with a theme and math concepts that were grade level appropriate. The students designed the games for the 5th, 6th and 7th grade math classes. Some games dealt with money along with fractions, decimals, area, perimeter and integers. Themes ranged from baseball, a neighborhood alley, a tropical island, to “plungers and pipes,” One group even made a 7th grade classroom jeopardy game. Once the prototypes were ready the groups played each one looking for mistakes in math, refining the directions and making sure the games were ready for production. Games then were officially produced and boxed up for the big reveal day. On Thursday the 7th graders invited all the 5th and 6th graders to come and play! The cafeteria was filled with the sounds of dice rolling, laughter and excitement of getting a math question correct. Everyone got a chance to rotate through and play each of the board games, at the end of the morning the games were presented to the teachers as a classroom gifts for the next year. As one 7th grade stated “I had fun showing the younger kids that math can be fun. Board games are a cool way to learn math”.
Chess tournament held
During most of the school year every Tuesday and Thursday morning Claire Whitley and Cody Duclos would teach chess to the fifth and sixth grade students at Prairie Middle School. Playing chess teaches so many important life lessons such as the value of planning, getting along with others, and good sportsmanship. Fifth and sixth graders would pair up with different students each week, wish each other well, and learn more about the game of chess.
A chess competition was held among the interested seventh and eighth grade students. "Brain food" which included goldfish crackers, peanuts, and chess shortbread cookies, was provided and students paired off for the final chess championship game. The final game was played last Friday between Tyler Latimer and Joshwa Zigler. It was a tough match and Tyler held on to his king as his only piece for several rounds, but Josh Zigler was able to win the championship. Claire Whitley and Cody Duclos supervised the competition and watched carefully to make sure each player received his share of "brain food."