What an interesting end to my class this Friday. Some days we struggle to get through the topics… esp when it is just practicing the formulas for our Surface Area and Volume. But for my kids to argue about the answer to a problem,… it was sweet! (And by argue, I mean discuss in a positive way with a heightened level of voices)

The Don’t Mess with Texas campaign has a contest for students 6th – 12th. They may submit a motto to go on the barrel trash cans set up around Texas (and receive one for their school as well). So of course, with a barrel, how can one *not* talk about surface area of the metal used?! We also discovered that the formula offered to us on the STAAR reference chart didn’t quite make the cut when determining the surface area. Should we use S= Ph? ” what will happen to the trash when we lift up the can?” Should we use S = Ph +2B? “Really?… Hmmmm. What will happen to the trash when we try to dunk it into the can?

Well, after we got through that chat, we wrote our numbers into our formulas, and then practiced inputting them into the calculators. (I would hate for the students to know how the process works, and then lose points because of a calculation mistake.) So initiating the answers, we all worked them by ourselves, then shared the answers with the groups and then aloud… I purposely will write the wrong answers on the board, so that the kids can “discuss/correct” the problem.

I can’t wait to see what their mottos are. Sometimes it’s hard to see the creative genius in my students on a daily basis. So incorporating something like this opens their minds up to a little math and a little humor or ingenuity with words in this case. We’ll color the barrels and display them on the lockers next week. I hope to post a picture and some of their clever mottos soon.

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