Primary Math Activities
Intro to Measurement
Short vs. Tall
Objective: to allow students to
compare and order integer bars by length, and to investigate symmetry.
Manipulative Activity: Students build
a bridge by ordering the bars from the smallest to the tallest. They show
symmetry by creating the same order on the opposite side. Students describe
other situations where size order occurs.
Collect pictures of bridges to share with the students. Ask students to
describe what they know about bridges. Using the pictures, identify the
sequence of the beams above the bridges. Discuss the order of the beams
and the lines of symmetry.
Distribute integer (Cuisenaire) bars to all the children in the class.
Ask each child or pairs of children to build a bridge.
Technology Activity: Students use an
applet written by Jacobo Bulaevsky to reinforce ordering by size.
Depending on the availability of computers for your students, this
activity can be done individually, with partners, in groups, or as a class.
- What bars were used?
- Where is the line of symmetry?
- How are the bars ordered?
Refer to How to Use the Integer Bar Program for directions.
Have students go to Designing Bridges.
Paper/Pencil Activity: Depending on
the level of your students, you can have them complete this activity
individually or with assistance. Here are some possible activities:
- Students draw pictures of their bridges.
- Students record the number (quantity) and colors of bars used.
- Students research and write about the types and uses of bridges.
Here are some links to resources on
bridges that might be useful.
Ken Robbins, (New York: Dial Books, 1991)
Bridges Are to Cross
Philemon Sturges, Giles Laroche (Illustrator), Joy Peskin (Editor), (New York: Puffin, 2000)
Bridges Connect: A Building Block Book (Building Block Books)
Lee Sullivan Hill, (Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books, 1996)
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