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West Patent Second Graders Get Excited About Math

 WPES students measure items in classroom

West Patent Elementary School second graders gleefully scurried around Anna Giglio and Natasha Dell’Olio’s classrooms this week, holding up long strips of paper and measuring everything they could. The activity was part of a Bridges in Mathematics lesson that gave students hands-on experience with important real-life skills while simultaneously reinforcing their learning about place value.

“We’re making our own measuring tools!” Giglio told her students before they started. Students cut out strips of paper that were divided into squares. The first five were white, the next five were black. They taped together five ten-strips and were let loose in the classrooms to measure and record seven different objects, noting not only how many squares long they were but how many groups of ten and how many ones made up the total.

Dell’Olio asked her students what they could try to measure in their classroom. Students called out different items they noticed, like pencils, a bench, books and desks. She then followed up and asked them what would be difficult to measure. Students thought for a moment and then responded with the carpet and the whole classroom.

“Right, those might be difficult to measure with our own strips, but maybe we can try it together as a challenge at the end!” Dell’Olio said. Students responded with enthusiasm.

Back in Giglio’s room, the second graders' faces lit up as they realized the different things they could measure.

“Look, I can measure my water bottle!” Eleanor said. “It’s about 13 squares.”

“Boys and girls, I have a great idea,” Giglio said after they had spent some time measuring small objects on their own. “If you have a partner, you can put your strips together and measure things that are a little bit bigger.”

Students immediately started looking around the room to see what big objects they could work together to measure, their faces full of delight.

“Woah, how about we measure me?!” one student asked her friend, eyes wide.

Their peers in Dell’Olio’s class had a similar idea. They had aide Kenneth Fulham lie down on the carpet so that they could line up their strips to see how tall he is.

“How tall is Mr. Fulham?” Dell’Olio asked once they had completed the task.

“90!” the students responded with excitement.

“And how many tens is that?” she asked.

“Nine!” they shouted.

As students enthusiastically measured objects from their shoes to their friends’ shoulder width to bulletin boards, both Dell’Olio and Giglio wandered through their rooms continually asking how many tens and how many ones long or wide something was.

The activity is a great example of the active, connected learning happening in our classrooms. Students were fully engaged and were encouraged to think critically, collaborate, problem-solve and more.

WPES student measures peer's forehead