I love the dead of winter in Thunder Bay! The snow has finally accumulated, I get to cross country ski every day, and it’s cold! The snow and cold weather also me bring so many opportunities for teaching math to my students!
The weather created an opportunity for us to estimate, measure and convert units between mm, cm and m, collect and analyze data, calculate mean, median, mode and range, choose appropriate graphs and make conclusions and predictions.
Weather is also a common denominator. Everyone loves to talk about it, especially when it’s -33 Celsius in your part of the world! Weather helps us learn more about other people and places in the world. I looked forward to consolidating our learning with an activity I had done before with much success.
So I tweeted out the temperature in Thunder Bay, using our class Twitter feed and asked people to reply with the current temperature in their part of the world:
I also retweeted using my own professional feed to my PLN:
AND I reached out to my many friends who are Google Earth Education Experts via an ongoing Google Hangout chat:
To be honest, I was hoping for about twenty responses, which would present some pretty interesting data for my kids to work with for their Friday afternoon math lesson.
By 2 pm we were literally overwhelmed with data!
My students dutifully went to work trying to manage the data, with the end goal of finding the mean, median, mode, range and then graphing the data. I was impressed with how they were working together to find strategies to help them manage the overwhelming amount of data that had been collected. After an hour of work, it was time to pack up for the end of the day and a well deserved weekend.
At this point, most students had created a Doc, had split screened between our Twitter Feed and their working document and were listing the name of the city and temperature in the order it had been sent to us. Some students decided it would be efficient to order the data lowest temperature to highest as it came in.
Regardless, by the end of the day, my students weren’t even CLOSE to finished managing the data AND the data was still coming in, AND it still is! But, my kids are used to work sometimes being left undone, with questions still remaining. Learning IS messy!
So… NOW what?
What do I do as a teacher? Prior to this crazy idea, my students proficient at managing data with up to ten values. Now they’re dealing with over one hundred values, with positive and negative numbers and three different units of measure: Celsius, Fahrenheit, and Kelvin (thanks Donnie)! I certainly isn’t fair, efficient or realistic to have them continue to work with the data in the way that they normally have in the past. I have more questions than answers:
-Do I have them work with only a smaller data set? Break kids into groups and have them work with the data according to time. One group work with data collected from 8am-10am, another from 10 am-12pm, etc.?
-Should I break them up according to region in the world?
-What about using Google Forms and Sheets to work with all of the data using a more efficient means? Can/should I have the students us sheets to calculate mean, median, mode and range? Is this possible?
-What about Google My Maps? It would be cool to have all of the people who responded pinned to their location with the temperature on the pin?
-Is there an efficient way to get all of the data from the Tweets to a Sheet?
-What about Google Earth? How could my students integrate this platform to display their data. Layers?
-Should I just let my kids figure all this out themselves? I think they’d be pretty innovative and creative, but what learning/platforms would they be missing out on that they haven’t already been exposed to?
What would YOU do?
Please respond in the Comment section so we can all learn together.