I’m excited to share with you my latest Family Math Night Collaborative Project: Space Invaders. Here’s a photo of the final result. (There are actually 3 aliens to choose from in the lesson plan. This is alien #1).
Here’s some of the background information I include in the lesson plan:
Pixels are small single-colored squares that make up images in computer graphics. These pixels are displayed as a bitmap, a rectangular matrix of dots. These pixels, sometimes called dots, are each assigned a specific color and are arranged along the horizontal axis (x-coordinate) and vertical axis (y-coordinate) of the matrix.
Computer graphics have come a long way in the last decade and look much more sophisticated today than they did back in 1978. But back when graphics were first being designed on computers, they had a “boxy” look. That’s because the screen displays (screen resolutions) were not as good as they are today.
Note: For the purpose of this activity, each pixel does not need to be represented by a single color.
Some of you may know that I always put together a video of my collaborative projects describing in detail how to do the activity and offering additional tips. I’ve included the video below for you.
I was cleaning up the Estimation Table at my last Family Math Night event when I noticed a slip of paper next to the Hershey’s jar. Taking a closer look at it, I realized I was looking at the thinking behind someone’s guess as to the number of Hersheys in the jar.
This piece of paper is priceless to me as an educator. It allows me to clearly understand the steps this child took to arrive at his/her answer – an answer that turned out to be exactly two Hersheys kisses off!
It starts with a multiplication problem: 4 x 27. It’s hard to see from this photo, but if you counted the number of Hersheys that can be seen on the side of the jar, I’m guessing this student got ’27’. Then, if you look at the number of rows of 27 that could be made from one side of the jar to the other side, I’m guessing that that’s where the ‘4’ came from. From there, the student knew s/he had to multiply the 27 Hersheys by the 4 rows. Since, from this point forward the student uses addition, I’m going to guess that the student either wasn’t comfortable with double-digit by single-digit multiplication or simply did not know how to do it.
So, instead, s/he used number sense by breaking down 4 x 27 into a simpler problem: (27 x 2) + (2 x 27) which s/he wrote as (27 + 27) + (27 + 27). From there it was simply finding the answer of ’54’ and adding that twice to get 108.
This is an amazing example of a student that has a clear mastery of number sense – breaking a multiplication problem down into a more manageable addition problem. It’s also a great example of the distributive property of multiplication, although there’s a good chance the student has no idea what ‘distributive property’ means. It doesn’t really matter; it’s the concept that’s important.
And this is what I love about the estimation jar – it gives kids an opportunity to practice number sense within the context of something fun…candy. And because there’s a sense of excitement and anticipation over who will get the closest and win all the candy, kids want to participate.
From now on I’m going to make sure I include scrap paper at all of my Estimation Tables.
I’ve been wanting to try out an idea I had for our Family Math Night events and, since we were trying out our newest kit, Gellin’ with Geometry, it was the perfect opportunity.
My idea was to have a project that all the participants contributed to so that at the end of the event, we would have one big something to share. In keeping with the geometry theme, I decided to include a station where participants could made one honeycomb cell. As the cells were completed, we could begin to put them all together.
What a success!! It was one of the most popular stations. And the result was phenomenal.
It was so much fun doing that I wanted to share it with others. So I put together a short video describing the process and the math. BTW, this activity can easily be done in a classroom setting, as well! If you’re interested in the lesson plan and other great STEAM projects, click the image above.