# Turkey investigation problem

The Turkey Investigation project is part of a research program by Catherine Fosnot, dealing with inquiry-based learning in mathematics. Grade 3-5 students work on problems related to multiplication and division.

The problem is typically related to the American context. Here follows the short description.

Turkey Investigations, Grade 3–5: A Context for Multiplication invites you into Dana Ostrowsky’s third-grade classroom. Here children explore two problems that are posed separately by Dana. In Buying the Turkey, the first problem presented to the class, students grapple with the cost of a 24-pound turkey that is priced at \$ 25 per pound. In the next problem, Cooking the Turkey, students think about how long to cook the 24-pound turkey if, as one recipe suggests, it needs to roast for fifteen minutes per pound. Because the numbers in each problem—the relationship between a quarter of a dollar and a quarter of an hour—have been carefully crafted to support the use of similar kinds of grouping strategies (e.g., grouping four quarters to make a dollar in Buying the Turkey and putting four fifteen-minute intervals together to make an hour in
Cooking the Turkey), there is the potential for students to model the problems in similar ways.
The challenges presented by these two problems to students who are making their first forays into multiplication push students to look for shortcut strategies and support the development and the discovery of specific mathematical big ideas (e.g., the distributive and associative properties of multiplication) and landmark strategies (e.g., repeated addition, skip counting, doubling and halving, etc.). As students struggle with these problems they also develop different ways of modelling them. This includes the ratio table, the open number line, and the double number line. (A. Cameron, S.B. Hersh, and C. T. Fosnot, 2005)

You can watch a part of the series of videos below. This may inspire you to look for problems that are interesting for your pupils and can be designed to challenge them.

# Actionbound – Scavenger Hunt

Actionbound is software that makes it easy to create Scavenger Hunts for your students. The students use an App on their telephone to use the ‘bound’ you have created. Actionbound is based on maps and uses GPS. You can create missions which are tasks and quizzes that require an answer. As a teacher creating a ‘bound’ you can upload audio, video, and pictures. You decide how students can send in their results on missions. Different formats can be chosen: sound, video, picture, text. You can also define how students should respond on quiz questions: in text, numbers, with a slider etc.

[Actionbound is availbale in English and in German. Both missions, which are open tasks, as well as  quizzes offer good options to design for inquiry skills. It is very easy to see implementation of interdisciplinary bounds. Any combination is possible: mathematics, physics, biology, language teaching, history, geography, arts etc. Outdoor learning and kinesthetics are incorporated in the use of Actionbound. Actionbound can be a good alternative for learning in class during the corona pandemic. The App can be used from grade 4 onwards.
The developer software can be tested for free. When you start using the program in your school you need a license to publish your ‘bounds’ and to monitor the results. The App for students is free.

# Springs simulation

#### DiScoro writes about inquiry-based learning, digital resources, and ways to encourage higher-order thinking. We focus on STEM education and the use of technology.

PHET has an interesting new simulation for primary school Masses and Springs. An easy to use simulation where pupils can investigate weights (mass) using springs. The program has three levels: Stretch, Bounce and Lab.

Stretch
The first challenge is to find out what ‘Spring strength’ actually means. The next task is to use it to find out the mass of the unknown weights. Pay attention to the availability of a ruler.
Instruct pupils check out all the options/buttons that are available on the screen. Many oversee some of them that come in handy in the next level.

Bounce
Some additional tools have been added. Lines for ‘resting position’ and ‘movable line’ and a stopwatch (chronometer). Estimate the mass of the three unknown weights again. How can you find this out using the chronometer? How does mass influence the bouncing of a spring? How does the spring strenghts influence the bouncing of the spring?

Lab
The last level is more suitable for secondary school students. Terms like ‘velocity’, ‘acceleration’ and ‘period trace’ are quite complex.  To explain how different values are related and to describe cause and effect using these concepts is quite a challenge.

 Purchase Free Hardware PC; iPad Requirements browser (HTML5 is used)

# Technology and Design

#### DiScoro writes about inquiry-based learning, digital resources, and ways to encourage higher-order thinking. We focus on STEM education and the use of technology.

This time we write about Technology & Design as a school subject or project for students (grade 6 to 10). In several countries Technology and Design has become a school subject.
Most commonly students work on a task during more than one hour. The tasks are interdisciplinary and require many different skills: planning, sketching, creativity, safety, use of tools, research , construction, experimentation etc.
Technology is not limited to the use of digital technology. Technology & Design tasks have a strong practical component and aim at problem solving skills. By nature the tasks are often low floor-high ceiling tasks. This implies that it is clearly understandable what the goal is, all students are able to get started (low floor). At the same time the tasks offer enough challenges and opportunities to dive deeper both in creativity as well as in complexity (high ceiling).

To make a plan is usually a step in the process. It is up to the teacher to ask for a report of the process or not. This can be written, visual, oral, with the use of multi-media (photos, video) or a combination.

Topics that could be part of Technology & Design are

• design and create a rocking horse for children age 2-3
• make a piece of household furniture using recycled materials
• make a gripper stick for waste picking, or for elderly people at their homes
• engineering (using concepts from chemistry and physics)

Technology and Design will certainly focus on the new economy where circular design and production, and no or minimal waste, are the ultimate challenges and goals.

# DaVinci Kindergarten

DaVinci Kindergarten is a pilot project in which we design, develop and try-out inquiry-based activities for children in the age 4-8. We have worked with children age 4-5 at two kindergartens in Norway. The activities focus on concepts from science, and technology and foster mathematical thinking.

We present some of the activities that have been developped. Contact us if you wish a complete description of the activity.

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1. Show-box– sight lines and mirroring.
2. How big is the panther? – measuring, human-based measuring units e.g. foot, thumb(=duym/inch), span (=fathom), step.
3. How do you get the light on? – electricity, battery, light, lightbulb, lamp, electrical wire, curcuit.
4. What weighs most/least? – experimenting with balance scales and different materials with the same volume and different weight.
5. Discover more about your toys. What kind of materials are they made of? – Categorise, recognise, examine the different materials and discover their characteristics.
6. Bee-bot – programming a robot.

# How big is the panther?

Another activity for children age 4-8. This inquiry-based activity involves measuring up a big animal. The children will draw a big animal in its actual size, but the animal is in another room than where the animal must be drawn. Two children are sent to look at the animal and asked to come back and describe the animal. This process is repeated with the question to find out how big the animal is so that it can be drawn on the large sheet of paper.

Concepts
measuring, measuring units, human based measuring units, measuring tools, categorizing, ordering, serializing, relative size, proportionality, counting, member of the ‘cat’ family.

Vocabulary
size, height, width, big-bigger-biggest, large- larger-largest, small- smaller- smallest, thick, order, position, direction, shape, fur, skin, colour, tail, (girth).

Background
The world for young children is primarily three dimensional. Young kids play with three dimensinal toys. A drawing or a picture is a two dimensional representation of objects from the three dimensional world and therefor more difficult to grasp.

Measuring starts with the use of measuring units that are available. People have used measuring units related to their own body to measure length or height over many centuries e.g. foot, fathom/span, thumb/inch.

# Show-box and Sight lines

This time we write about inquiry-based science and math activities we tried out in kindergarten, but this is definitely suitable for first and second grade as well. The first activity is about experimenting with sight lines using a show-box.

Concepts: sight lines, mirror, reflection.

Vocabulary: in sight, out of sight, hidden, position, sight line, eye, straight line, corner, behind, in front of, next to, around the bend …

The children worked in groups of three or four children (age 4 and 5) on one show-box. First, the children are presented with an empty show-box with four spy-holes. They are asked to furnish the room and place some dolls/animals using items they have in class. Thereafter we ask them explore what they see and what not and reason about it. We ask them to look through their spy-hole and tell each other what they see. We ask them why they do not see the same items.

There are many questions to ask that require experimenting, thinking and reasoning.
For example:

• Can you place an item so that this can only be seen from one spy-hole?
• Can you position an item that can be viewed from just two, three, or from all the four spy-holes?
• Can you place an item in such a way that it cannot be viewed by anyone?
• Build a half wall and place an item behind the wall. Choose a hole from which you cannot see the item. Now use the mirror so that you can see what is behind the wall.
• One child take a picture though one of the holes while the other turn their back. Show the picture ans ask from which hole it was taken and why they thinks so.