Math Investigations

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Chapter 12

Part 1: Home and School Investigation

Send the Letter to Family (PDF file) home with each child. Once all the children have brought in their containers, begin showing the containers, two at a time, to the class. Each time ask, Which container do you think holds more? Then fill the container that the children think is the smallest with sand. Ask, How could we find out if the container that is not filled with sand really holds the most? Lead children to see that you could pour the sand from the container filled with sand into the other container. If there is space left over in the container when all the sand has been poured, then it is the container that holds the most. If the container is full and there is still more sand, then it is the container that holds the least. If the sand fits exactly, then the containers hold about the same amount.

Repeat this a few times each day until you have gone through all the containers. You may also wish to create similar activities and experiences for children, to help them gain better understanding of this complicated concept.

A good time to do this activity is after Lesson 8 on estimating and measuring capacity.

Part 2: Be an Investigator

A good time to do this investigation is after Lesson 8 on estimating and measuring capacity.

Materials

  • Investigator Worksheet (PDF file) for each group of two children
  • three containers of different capacities, labeled A, B, and C, for each group of two children (You might want to use the containers you collected for Part 1: Home and School Investigation.)
  • one small cup to use for measuring for each group of children
  • sand

Introducing the Investigation

Tell the children that they are going to get three containers. Show them a set of containers labeled A, B, and C. Tell the children that their job will be to guess which container is the smallest (holds the least), which is the biggest (holds the most), and which is in the middle. Show them the place on the Investigator Worksheet where each can record his or her guess. Next, tell the children that they will use the sand to actually find which holds the most, which holds the least, and which is in the middle. Show them where they will record that on the Investigator Worksheet. Put the children in groups of two, and give each group one Investigator Worksheet, a set of containers, some sand, and the measuring cup.

Doing the Investigation

If the children are counting cups of sand as they fill a container, suggest that one child pour cups of sand and the other child count.

When the children are finished, ask them to talk about how they figured out which container was the biggest, which was the smallest, and which was in the middle.


Houghton Mifflin Math Grade K