Thursday, April 28, 2016

Five Fantastic Facts about the Eiffel Tower and what l Learned while creating my Math Review Scavenger Hunt

Koechlin's first drawing of the tower.
It is very interesting doing the research for my recent math scavenger hunts. I have made one for The First Ferris Wheel, The Titanic, and now The Eiffel Tower. While researching facts on the Eiffel Tower, I found some interesting things that were fun, but didn't go into the scavenger hunt.

1) Most people assume that Gustave Eiffel designed the Tower named after him. The design of the Eiffel Tower was the product of Maurice Koechlin and Ă‰mile Nouguier who worked for Eiffel's engineering company. Eiffel didn't approve of the design until the head architect Stephen Sauvestre added decorative arches to the base of the tower and other improvements.

2) The tower is painted in three shades of color. It is lighter at the top and gets progressively darker towards the bottom to match the Parisian sky.

3) It is illegal to publish photographs of the lighting on The Eiffel Tower at night. You need to get permission from France to do so. The lighting is considered a work of art and under copyright. Photos of just the Eiffel Tower are in the public domain.

4) Winds can make the tower sway from side to side by about three inches. Heat and cold can make the height of the tower vary by as much as six inches. It is taller in the summer and shorter in the winter!

5) Hitler wanted the Eiffel Tower destroyed when the German army abandoned Paris in 1944. He  ordered the Nazi military governor of Paris to destroy the city and the tower. The governor decided not to do it because he loved Paris too much.

I made a math review scavenger hunt based on other facts and numbers related to the Eiffel Tower for students in grades 4-6. You can find it here.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Titanic Math Review Scavenger Hunt

The Titanic is another scavenger hunt that I created and used with my class. It reviews many of the 5th grade common core standards and can be used with fourth graders who need a challenge or with 6th and 7th graders as a review. I am still amazed at how my students respond to scavenger hunts. These thinking word problems with questions based on the Titanic require a lot of problem solving on their part, but they feel like they are in a game so they give it a great effort and become highly engaged.

A couple of tips that I have found helpful when doing these review scavenger hunts, such as this one or my First Ferris Wheel scavenger hunt, is that I may need to preview or review certain questions as some kids may not be secure remembering how to do something taught earlier in the year. As the kids are doing the scavenger hunt, I make sure that I am available to answer a student's question or give support when needed. While other students are participating on their own, I get to reteach mini-lessons with those who need it. I never grade the scavenger hunt answers. We review all the questions and answers together. This is why it is a review. It is a learning experience. Students can explain how they got an answer and this is a great time to reteach a point if many students struggle with a question.

You can find The Titanic scavenger hunt here.

Speaking of the Titanic, one of my best investments ever was a postcard I had bought at a roadside junk store in Maine when I was in 8th grade, It had a photo of the Titanic and a short message about  the disaster on the front and the back had a postmark and note (non Titanic related) showing it was sent six days after the sinking. I had just finished reading the book on the Titanic A Night to Remember and I thought it would be cool to purchase the postcard for 25 cents. Years later, when the Titanic movie came out and eBay was sort of new I sold it for $350.

My grandmother immigrated from Sweden alone when she was 16 year old. She always said that she was supposed to be on the Titanic, but missed the departure. This cannot be confirmed, but she said she took the next boat out and talked about seeing the iceberg. When my parents researched our genealogy, sure enough, my grandmother was on the next boat that left port. Thanks for being late, Grandma!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

The First Ferris Wheel Challenge

The first Ferris Wheel was built for the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. It was Chicago's answer to the magnificent Eiffel Tower built for the 1899 World's Fair. I first learned about this enormous structure when I used to teach fourth grade and used it as an introduction to multiplication of double digit numbers. I felt my students could visualize the concept better when they drew a Ferris Wheel with 36 boxes (cars) on it that each held 60 people. As a have been working on building scavenger hunts for my students to get them moving and solving math problems at the same time, I decided to move away from just solving problems to learning facts about the Ferris Wheel as they circulate around the room. I feel that it is my best scavenger hunt yet, and it kept my kids really engaged in the problems. They had to do some deep thinking as the solved these, which I really like to see! Like my other scavenger hunts that can be found at my Teacher Pay Teachers store, you can purchase The First Ferris Wheel Challenge to be used with your class. It was created as a review for my fifth grade class and would work fine as a sixth or even seventh grade activity. It could also be used as an activity for fourth grade students who need a challenge (the scavenger hunt stations can also be used as task cards). You can see my kids enjoying the challenge at various stations in these photos. I have a freebie of 15 permanent scavenger hunts stations that you can find here to make placing scavenger hunt cards easier for my students ( I let them do this) and to keep the room looking more organized.

Here is a quick video introducing the first Ferris Wheel.

Here is an actual video of the first Chicago Ferris Wheel although after it had been moved from the original site in Chicago.