Tuesday, February 5, 2013

100 Cans of Food by the 100th Day of School

We are doing a service project this month - 100 Cans by the 100th Day. It will be our goal to have each family provide enough cans so we can feed some hungry families. Donations will be made to either Food Gatherers or a local food bank.

This also provided a fun math conundrum for the children in my math class. I posed this problem for the children to think about:

If all of the 1st and 2nd graders at Summers-Knoll donated the same number of cans, how many would each child need to bring for us to have at least 100 cans to donate? Would there be extra cans (a remainder)?

Partners had to figure out 1) what questions needed answering first and 2) how they could find the answer. They immediately realized that they first needed to figure out how many children we were talking about (13 and 14 = 27). Then students gathered materials to help them. Here are a few examples of the thinking that went on, and is a great example of how a real-life problem can challenge and be solved by children of different abilities and by many different methods.

Some children used blocks to represent either the cans or the people.

Some drew pictures or tally marks and then tried to divide these up.

Other could make an immediate estimation and used a multiplication or division problem as a way to come up with the answer.

We figured that each child would need to bring in four cans of food, and there would be 8 left over. This morning, I gave the children some news - the kindergarten class wants to do it too! More math ensued. Fun!

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