Thursday, May 3, 2012

Feet (This is Math?)

Today I want you to explore feet.  The unit-of-measurement kind of feet.  And just to teach a little humor in our language, I'm asking the kids to measure their own feet.

Find a ruler that measures one foot. Find 3 things that are the same length as the ruler.  Find 3 things that are shorter and 3 things that are longer than the ruler.

Does anyone in your family have feet that are a foot long?

How tall is the front door in your house?  How wide is it?  Is it the same size as other doors in your house?
How tall are the ceilings in your house?
How many inches in a foot?  How many feet in a yard?  How many inches in a yard?

How tall is each person in your house?  Give measurement in feet plus inches.
Have a hopping competition.  Hop on one foot.  How many feet can you hop?

Play a throwing game (ideas below).  Guess how far you threw the object, then measure it to see how good you are at guessing feet.

Find out how many feet are in a mile.  Memorize this number.

 INDICATING UNITS: When you have the students measure things - teach them how to indicate the unit of measurement.  For the unit FEET they can write "feet" or "foot" (if there is only one of them) or they can abbreviate with "ft."  Additionally there is the little apostrophe that can actually indicate the unit FEET . . . "My ceilings are 8' tall".  You will probably need to talk about inches, also.  They can write "inches" or "in" or use the double apostrophe (like this: 8" to mean 8 inches).  The apostrophe indication of feet and inches works very well when you have to report in feet AND inches (like in heights of people)  5'4" is 5 feet, 4 inches.

For a THROWING GAME, you might want to NOT use a ball - as it will roll away before you can measure the initial distance it was thrown.  Here are some ideas of objects to throw:
toss pennies
wad up paper
bean bags
roll toy cars until they stop
spit watermelon seeds

FEET PER MILE: Most of my children run long distance races.  They keep their mind busy converting the kilometers to meters, then to quarter miles and to miles.  And sometimes you just need to know how many feet in a mile.  If your students memorize 5,280 feet per mile they may win trivia games and be at an advantage in their physics class years from now. And run faster and jump higher...

Happy Feet!!

Cathy H

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