by the Forestdale 2nd grade Team – Susan Iadonisi, Erin Coughlin-Crowley, Michelle Quinn, Merrill Kennison
and the Math Intervention Team – Sarah Murray and Kelly Hart
Have you heard about the Zoo at the Forestdale School? It’s all the talk in the K-2 hallways! Students are chatting about how Chunkey the Monkey is taller than Sandra the Sloth! The humongous elephant welcomes you as you enter. You can hear the exclamations …”wow, that’s enormous!”
This project was developed through thinking about the measurement standards for second grade – using appropriate tools, estimating length in units, accurately using the tools, and measuring to compare one object to another- AND create a fun hands on learning environment to build on their measurement skills. Orchestrated by the Math Intervention Specialists, Sarah Murray and Kelly Hart, and math ESP, Lani Pillarella, in collaboration with the second grade team, Erin Coughlin-Crowley, Merrill Kennison, Michelle Quinn, and Susan Iadonisi- a life-size zoo measurement unit was designed.
After picking their animals, students worked in small groups of 2-3 and determined the height or length of the animal. They had to decide what measuring tool would work most effectively for their animal. You don’t realize just how BIG these animals are until you tackle using mural paper to create it! They had to measure and think about the proportions of the animal as they sketched it. What we experienced were teachers collaborating together, with a heightened energy level. Students were working together, collaborating, and very proud of their work.
The life size zoo animals were displayed throughout the kindergarten, first, and second grade wing right before the students came back from winter break. As the students came back to school after vacation, one could hear their excitement as they walked down to their classrooms, discussing the different sizes of the animals. The same morning third grade and first grade were seen measuring animals in the hall, discussing estimates and actual measures they found. Fourth grade teachers have also planned a lesson around the Life Size Zoo.
The best take-aways from this unit were a combination of school spirit, teachers working together, and students working together to develop a display that was challenging, difficult, and a great deal of work for them. In the end, students were very proud and excited with the learning they experienced. It was uplifting for the teachers to observe such wonderful collaboration, support, and acknowledgement among all of the grades, both with students and co workers in our Forestdale community.
Zoo, zoo, zoo… you can come too!