We have begun our final math unit, so hard to believe, on farms! Throughout this integrated unit the students will be using their skills of spatial problem solving, mapping, and computation with money to build a farm with their teammates. The students have really taken to this project and are doing a fabulous job! The class is broken up into four groups with five "farmers" creating a farm together. To kick off the unit we had a discussion about what it means to work on a team and what strategies we may need to use throughout the project. The three C's that have been decided upon as the focus for a successful farm are Cooperation, Communication and Compromise. The first part of this unit that blew me away was how the students immediately used these strategies to come up with the names for their farms; we have The Friend Farm, The Maple Tree Farm, The Greenhouse Farm, and The Animal Farm. When I heard the rich discussion, compromising and problem solving for the names alone, I knew that this was going to be a great unit!
Since that first successful day, the students have begun to purchase land, buildings and animals for their farms. Even though they are working together to design their plot of land, they each have individual wallets to make their purchases with. I have been amazed by the students understanding of money and how to count it. There has been very little hold up as they jump around from counting out 10's, 5's and 1's to make their payments. There has also been an incredible amount of strategizing and team work that has gone into deciding how much land to buy, the number of animals they would like, and where they should be. When purchasing the goats on Friday, I overheard one group discussing that they wanted the goats to have friends so they should buy more than one, but not too many so that they can save money and have space for other animals. There was also quite a bit of discussion about how far away the barn should be from the house, there was quite a concern about how stinky it would be. It is fun to see and hear all that they come up with.
Everyday I hear from at least a few students about how much they are enjoying their time in math and it's easy to see as they all work together!