Toothpick Research Paper

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DEVELOPMENT Ask students what other things they could measure with. Have them come up with ideas of what to measure with and let them explore the classroom with these unconventional measuring tools. Now is a good time to introduce a standardized unit of measurement. Toothpicks are a fun unit to start with. As part of your presentation of toothpicks, encourage students to consider why these toothpicks might be more useful than the candy bars or the other units they may have been using around the classroom. Display a group of candy bars and a group of toothpicks. Ask the following questions:  What is different about these two groups?  If everyone needed to measure in the same way, which group would be better to use and why?  What is helpful …show more content…

What else in the classroom could you use for measuring? b. Why did you choose this “unit” of measurement? c. If you had to measure the length of this classroom, would your unit be an easy or difficult one to use? Why? d. What if you had to measure the length of a pencil? What would be a good unit to use? These summarizing activities help students reflect upon: 1) why it is helpful to use standardized units of measurement; 2) how using whole units and parts of units (whole numbers and fractions) help describe an object; 3) how estimation can help describe an object’s measurement to somebody else, even when you do not have a measuring tool available. EXTENSIONS By using question #7 on the Measuring with Toothpicks student sheet as a class problem, students can practice their estimation skills. Have students work with a partner in a role-play. One student can pretend to be the book-cover maker and the other student can be the owner of the book. With no actual toothpicks available, the owner should describe (estimate) the length and width of the book to the book-cover maker. You can use this exercise as a short role-play or have the book-cover makers actually cut paper according to her/his understanding of the owner’s description. The idea is to help students begin to see that using the same unit of measurement allows us to estimate, and estimation helps us give information to another

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