An end-of-the-year class exercise at East Haven Academy (EHA) reinforced learning and also celebrated the many cultures of the students.
The interactive exercise and competition, called Metric Olympics, was based on the fifth-grade class' integrated math and science curriculum. Forty-seven students were divided into eight teams, each representing a different country. The countries represented were USA, United Kingdom, Italy, India, Mexico, Greece, Egypt and France.
Students wore the team country’s colors and waived their flags as they proceeded into the multi-purpose room, led by a student who carried the Olympic torch.
The Metric Olympics was the idea of Carol Wallach, a district math coach, and EHA teacher Dana Nazzaro. They wanted to wrap up their work together for the year by doing an activity that had students working together to solve problems, applying skills they learned and celebrating other cultures.
“The students enjoyed working together with hands-on tasks during math class and recently completed a measurement magazine focusing on area and perimeter and the construction of a cereal box from a piece of poster board to a 3-D container,” said Nazzaro.
In the Olympics, the students used estimation, measurements in metric units, problem solving techniques and cooperative group work. The kids worked in teams; first having to give an estimate for distance, temperature, mass, or capacity for the task. They followed through with a task, recording their actual metric measurement.
Each student then found their measure of error, which was the difference between the actual and estimated measure. The lowest margin of error for each country was the event’s winner, giving eight individual event winners who were presented with medals for their achievements.
Parent volunteers were on hand to man each station and were an integral part of the day’s activities. Some of them even got down on the floor to demonstrate and help take measurements. Assistant Superintendent Erica Forti and Mayor April Capone were also on hand with EHA principal Marianne Johnson to talk with students and watch as they competed.
The events included Cotton Ball Shot Put-distance in cm; Straw Javelin-distance in cm; Paper Plate Discus-distance in meters; Right Handed Marble Grab-mass in grams; Left-Handed Sponge Squeeze-how many milliliters of water did a sponge hold; Big Foot Contest-area of your foot, which changed to hand to save time; Thermodynamic Finger Diving-temperature of water in degrees Celsius; and Poppin’ Predictions, where students had to find the amount of smaller containers of popcorn that it would take to fill a large cereal box.
Greece was the over-all team of the First Annual Metric Olympics at EHA. The winner was determined by finding the average of each team member’s margin of error.