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A Math lesson involving on measurement and comparing using literature
Math, Language Arts
Grade Level: 4 – 5
How Much Bigger Is a Blue Whale?
Materials Needed: The book Is a Blue Whale The Biggest Thing There Is? by Robert E. Wells (Albert Whitman, 1993), rulers, tape measures
Description of Activity:
The purpose of this activity is to allow students to compare lengths using the book Is a Blue Whale The Biggest Thing There Is? This book gives readers a look at the size of things in the world, beginning by introducing the largest creature on earth, the blue whale, which can grow to 100 feet. The teacher will begin the activity by reading the book aloud and asking the students to estimate how many of their lengths would equal the length of a full grow blue whale – 100 feet. Usually, the students estimates range from 10 to 50. To help students revise their estimates, the teacher will have the students think about the – relationship between the teacher’s height and 100 feet. He/she will ask: “If I’m 6 feet tall, how many feet would two of my lengths equal?” The teacher will then tell the students that they are going to find out how many of their heights equal the length of a blue whale. A demonstration will be provided to the students on how to measure height: attach a tape measure to the wall, then the teacher will stand with his/her back to the tape and ask a student to hold a ruler on top of his/her head. Students will then work with partners to calculate their height.
Next, the teacher will ask the students to find out how many of their heights equal the length of a blue whale and then draw a picture of themselves next to a whale to show it. The class can also compare the blue whale’s length to other things, such as a chair, a table, a car.
Source: Instructor Magazine (Primary Issue), November/December 1996.