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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Curriculum Starts With a Question - 7 Questions to Ask Your Third Grader Today


Developing curriculum is not as complicated as it may sound, especially not for the lower elementary grades. You don't have to have a pre-set, boxed curriculum to provide a solid education for your child. In fact, starting with asking simple questions often spirals into a full day of investigative studies when one of the questions piques an interest or you come up with a brilliant idea for hands-on reinforcement of learning the answer.

Let's start with third grade, and let's start with 7 simple questions that could trigger a full day of learning, or it could fall flat and take about 2 minutes to complete... Try for the full day of learning, but start with these 7 questions:

MATH

1. How many hundreds does it take to equal one thousand?

Word Problem:
2. Andy invited 13 friends to his party. If 4 guests were boys, how many were girls?

LANGUAGE ARTS

3. Use two of these words to make a compound word:

bird, thumb, baby, bath

4. How do you spell the name of the second month of the year?

SCIENCE

5. If a lion kills a baby deer, which animal (the lion or the deer) would be called a predator?

SOCIAL STUDIES/GEOGRAPHY

6. What is the name of the part of a map that tells the real distance in miles or kilometers?

MUSIC

7. Which of these instruments has six strings?

harp, piano, cello, guitar, violin



The Easy and Extended Answers:

MATH

1. How many hundreds does it take to equal one thousand?
Easy Answer: ten hundreds
Extended Answer: Use straws, M&Ms, blocks, toy elephants, or other objects the child can hold in his or her hand to demonstrate the ones, the tens, the hundreds and the thousands place values. Demonstrate place value and why the answer is what it is. Play around with other numbers, starting with ones ending in zero for ease of understanding.

Word Problem:
2. Andy invited 13 friends to his party. If 4 guests were boys, how many were girls?
Easy Answer: 9
Extended Answer: 13-4=9. Why? Andy started by inviting 13 friends. Out of these 13, 4 of them were boy. So, you take the numbers and the facts you know to determine the answer to the question you don't know. You know that the total is 13, what you don't know is the difference between how many boys and how many girls.  Ding, ding, ding. There's the key word in this word problem - DIFFERENCE. When you find the key word, you know what equation to use to solve the problem. If you are looking for the difference, you now know you need to subtract.

For the extremely logical child who needs a reason to do math - Extend this further by coming up with a back story to the word problem itself. Why did Andy even have this party? Here's the story:

Andy wanted to celebrate his birthday. His mom told him to invite as many friends as he wanted. He lived in a neighborhood that has one boy his age and three girls up the street whom he would play kickball with whenever he was outside and had some free time. He knew he wanted to invite the 1 boy and the 3 girls. He then decided that he would invite his entire Third Grade class, which consisted of 3 boys and 6 girls. From his 1 neighborhood friend who was a boy, plus the 3 boys in his class, he invited 4 boys. The girls happened to outnumber the boys, since there were 3 girls in the neighborhood whom he definitely wanted to invite, but then there were also the 6 girls in his class at school, totaling 9 girls. Even though he would be outnumbered by the girls at his party, he was looking forward to a good time with all of his friends.

Use dollhouse dolls or action figures to demonstrate the problem.

LANGUAGE ARTS

3. Use two of these words to make a compound word:

bird, thumb, baby, bath

Easy Answer: birdbath
Extended Answer: Put the words onto index cards and physically smash them together to see which ones make sense and which ones don't as one big compound word. Get creative, and search the dictionary for other compound words, and do the same. Or use a toy bulldozer truck to carry words and construct your own set of compound words.

4. How do you spell the name of the second month of the year?
Easy Answer: February
Extended Answer: F-E-B-R-U-A-R-Y - Sound it out, and write down the sounds you hear. Remember that February is a winter month, so in the middle of the word is a Br (brrrr, like you're cold). Talk about holidays in the month of February, like Ground Hogs Day, Valentines Day or Presidents Day. Learn as much as you want about each one, which could even lead to science credits in investigating the ground hog or history for Presidents Day. Extend it into some art time by doing some fun crafts associated with each February holiday, or just learn more about winter and read stories about winter.

SCIENCE

5. If a lion kills a baby deer, which animal (the lion or the deer) would be called a predator?
Easy Answer: the lion is the predator
Extended Answer: Go to the zoo and observe lions and deer. Look up pictures of each animal and research their characteristics.

SOCIAL STUDIES/GEOGRAPHY

6. What is the name of the part of a map that tells the real distance in miles or kilometers?
Easy Answer: the map scale
Extended Answer: Use a ruler to measure the distance between points on a map, or use a Hot Wheels car to drive from one location to the next on the map. Explain how the scale system works, and have fun converting miles to kilometers or the other way around. Talk about trips you have taken and explain the distance you drove, using the map scale. Have fun enlarging or shrinking the scale and see what the outcome would be.

MUSIC

7. Which of these instruments has six strings?

harp, piano, cello, guitar, violin

Easy Answer: a guitar
Extended Answer: Talk about stringed instruments. Show a picture of a guitar or bring out a real or toy guitar. Let the child strum the chords and maybe even teach them how to form a note or chords to play a song. Listen to guitar music and learn about composers or musicians who used the guitar. Make your own guitar out of a box and rubber bands.

Now, go outside and run around for a PE credit, and log your hours. Your day is done.


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