This unit could be extended or enhanced in several ways:
- The presentation could be given to other school groups, such as the Parent/Teacher Organization or the Student Council.
- We could determine maximum occupancy rates for our building, both from the district's point of view and that of the local fire department. It would be interesting to see what kind of "formula" the fire marshal uses to arrive at these occupancy rates. Perhaps the size of hallways is an important part of this determination.
- Other classrooms in our school might want to do similar projects at other grade levels. One would expect to see significant differences in area per student in the primary grades, for instance. It would be both fun and instructive to compare the results obtained across grade levels and find out why these differences exist. The resulting data would be even more useful to the principal as she makes her decisions about class assignments for the coming year.
- In the future, we hope to conduct this project in parallel with other fifth grade classes outside our building, but within our district. Then we could make a field trip to the other school, have lunch, and compare notes. Anything we can do to get our students talking about mathematics outside the classroom will be beneficial.
- A joint project with other schools could be conducted via the Internet. One thing we could do is measure our respective playgrounds (using a trundle wheel, say), communicate our results via electronic mail, and "publish" the summary data on appropriate Usenet newsgroups (like k12.ed.math). The possibility of collaborating with a group of students across the country or around the globe is an exciting prospect we look forward to.
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