# Putting It All Together

## Math Activity

With this activity, children learn how numerical information can help them better understand their community.

WHAT YOU NEED

WHAT TO DO

1. Tell students that they can use numbers to understand their community and to compare it to other communities. Pose the following questions and briefly discuss with students what their responses tell about a community:

• Given what you know about city and suburban neighborhoods, which is likely to have the most stores per block?
• If you compared a small town and a large city, which would you expect to have the most traffic lights?
• Where would fire hydrants be closer together, in the country or in the city?

2. With the group, plan an exploratory walk around one or two blocks that can be considered fairly typical of your community. If students have been working with area maps, use those to plan the route. Duplicate and pass out to students a number information sheet or some other recording sheet.

3. Set up your objectives beforehand. Assign a pairs of students to a specific task (one to count/measure and the other to record the number information). Adapt any of the following to your area:

• Make a separate count of the number of stores, houses, and office buildings.
• Count how many buildings have more than one story. Record how many floors there are in each one.
• Count the number and frequency of bus stops or other aspects of public transportation.
• Count the number of trash containers, telephone poles, and street lights.
• Count the fire hydrants. Estimate/measure how far apart they are.
• Measure how long it takes to walk around a typical block.
• Count parking spaces, and determine how many are free or metered.
• Determine where the parking meters are located and record the parking rate.
• Count the traffic lights and record where were they located.

4. When you return to the classroom, have students complete their number information sheets by telling what they saw and then drawing a conclusion from those numbers. Example:

NUMBER INFORMATION: On our walk, we counted 7 stores on one block. There was 1 office building. That added up to 8 buildings.

CONCLUSION: There are more stores than office buildings on this block. That means that most of the cars parked there probably belonged to shoppers who don't live close by.

TEACHING OPTIONS

Encourage students to suggest how they could present all the information they collected so that is easy to read and understand. Divide the class into groups, each of which presents the data in a different way (for example, chart, graph, written summary). Duplicate the completed number information sheets so that each group has access to each other's information.

Students can make up number problems using the data they collected and ask classmates to solve them. For example: There were 7 stores. Three people work in each store. How many people work in all the stores put together?

Communicate with another class in a different community. Ask those students to make a similar survey, then compare information.

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