Hi there Aimee
In response to your tweet asking for maths investigations around addition and subtraction in Year 3/4, here are a few ideas of mine:
No, I haven’t tried this one out yet, but I came up with the idea for you in the gym this morning. Now, every AFL-loving student knows instinctively how long 50 metres is. So, the challenge is: Find objects in your classroom which can be lined up to make a length of 50 metres. Sounds a bit daunting? Then make it collaborative. After a while the students might tire of measuring items such as pencils and chairs by themselves, so maybe they can ‘trade’ the measurement of items with classmates. This is a pretty big running total to record, so the use of a spreadsheet to create a running total could be good. Sure, the spreadsheet is doing the hard yakka of the addition and subtraction maths – until the final total. To get this exactly at 50 metres, students must estimate, round-off, guess-and-check, to get their precise total.
I used to do this with mini tins of spaghetti in tomato sauce, and used plastic drop-sheets for the operation. Now I stick to plain boiled spaghetti for less mess and more maths. A good group activity, each group receives a big spoonful of cooked spaghetti, measures it all and totals it up to find out who has the most, measured in centimetres.
Create a table which shows the distance between different locations in the school.
Investigate Olympic long-jump records to work out the difference between the lengths jumped each year.
As tall as a giraffe: which students in the class would need to stand on top of each other’s head to be exactly the same height as a giraffe?
Last of all, there is an excellent activity in First Steps Mathematics called ‘Broken Ruler’. Students measure the length of objects with a section of a ruler to really think through their addition and subtraction. In the photo you can see one copied from the First Steps in Mathematics Measurement book.
Cheers, and thanks for giving me a reason to blog!