Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Arms-on with Metrics


In the constant search for activities to make math more engaging for adult learners, I came upon this simple science experiment from Midwestern State University (activity two in Metric Measurement and the Scientific Method)


I began with telling everyone that I had observed that most people have a wingspan that is the same as their height.  If that is true, then perhaps there exists a proportion of arm length to total height.  From the guide above, you propose arm length as 40% of total height.  Then students have to convert their height into inches, then centimeters.  I had them measure arm length (they had to define how they would measure this) in inches and then make the conversion to centimeters.  Finally, they had to determine the deviation and the percent from the expected 40% and then use mean to determine how they would refine the hypothesis after their observations.

I found this activity gave them hands-on, engaging ways to learn metric conversions with measurements that made sense to them, and they were able to use percents, find the mean and use scientific method with data about themselves.

The full lesson plan for those who are interested:  Measurement in the Metric System

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