May 9, 2011


You might be wondering what we're doing with Band-Aids in the classroom. It's a very fun investigation into measurement and problem solving. This last week we read the poem Band-Aids by Shel Silverstein. If you've never read I highly recommend you do. It's sooo cute. The task was to figure out how many Band-Aids the boy put on his body. They could use anything to help them but most used paper and pencil. The point was to get them thinking about personal strategies. Here are a couple who really represented their thinking well. I know that some of them have added incorrectly and they've got the wrong answer. I'm more concerned that they've got a strategy than the correct answer. Let me know what you think about some of the strategies the kids are using. Do your kids use some of the same ones?

I'm not sure how to get my pictures side by side. They keep shifting on me. I'll figure it out.  I'm always trying to get teachers to work from a problem solving approach. So I want you to really notice how much work these kids have done. They are using a lot of mental math and practicing basic facts at the same time. Yes there are some number reversals but I'm not really worried about that because they are thinking. 

Today we talked about the criteria a ruler had to have. The kids decided that a ruler needed to have:
  1. Numbers and they needed to be either below the line or beside it. You couldn't have the numbers in both places on the same ruler. 
  2. The units needed to be the same throughout the ruler.
  3. The units couldn't be overlapping or far apart. They had to be close together. 
  4. It needs to have a straight edge. 
  5. The lines need to be the same distance apart. 
Here are some of the rulers they created today. Tomorrow they are going to evaluated each others rulers and give some feedback then recreate another ruler using a different size Band-Aid. (I know some of them are incorrect but don't we always say we can learn from a mistake?)
Following most of the criteria.

Had a discussion of why 0 - 10. He let me know that there were 10 cm between each of the numbers. Hmmm!

Great problem solving of how to keep the adding machine tape from curling up.

Really like his strategy of iterating.

I wonder where they are thinking zero is?

Some misunderstandings...we'll get it cleared up soon.

Band-Aids are side by side.

Actually measuring. Is the Kleenex box really 25 Band-Aids long?

I think our work with an open number line is transferring into this activity. Does it make sense that this box is 40 Band-Aids long? Again some misunderstandings. 

It's all a learning process. It's unbelievable how their thinking and learning will develop the more time they build a measuring tool/ruler.
Hope you enjoyed and learned something new.


  1. Engaged work and active thinking. Love it!

  2. Great idea! I now follow your blog!


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