Thursday, May 22, 2014

Math Connections

Observing changes and growth in our Bulb Garden
The crocuses have died back and the daffodils are blooming
This project has been a fun adventure in planting, tending, measuring and observing.  In addition to measuring the growth of plants we have also learned about perimeter and area.  I divided this plot into 96 small sections so that we could keep track of the bulbs we planted.  Not only did it help us keep track of where we planted, it was also the perfect hands-on link to teach perimeter and area.  Our garden is divided into 6 X 16 squares.  Each square is roughly one foot by one foot, and the total area is roughly 96 square feet.  The perimeter is roughly 44 feet.  In the classroom, we used one inch squares to replicate this bed.  I gave students the task of using those 96 squares and finding all the rectangles they could make.  They made rectangles that were 1 X 96, 2 X 48, 4 X 24, 6 X 16 (like our own bed) and 8 X 12  (all factors of 96).  They were also instructed to measure the perimeters of those rectangles.  When the area is the same but the shape is different, does the perimeter change?  After finding the answer to that question, we looked for a pattern.  We found that the closer the rectangle resembled a square, the smaller the perimeter.  How cool is that!  Teaching math in a garden can be fun and beautiful!