Since I was filling my daughter’s sandbox anyhow, I decided to film it and turn it into a math problem. I’ll fit this into the 7 steps of the Learning Through Problem Solving approach discussed previously on this blog. Here’s how to make this work in your classroom.
- Play the question video.
- Ask students what question they want to explore. They will likely come up with “Does he have enough bags of sand?” or “How many bags of sand is he going to need?”
- Elicit student guesses. Students may assume the answer is 20, because that’s how many bags are stacked up. You should tell them that the guy in the video is a notoriously bad measurer, and he could have way too many or way too few. As a class, agree on a range of reasonable answers.
- Ask the students what further information they need to answer their question. Provide them the measurements of the sandbox, and the information from the bag of Play Sand as shown on this handout.
- Allow students to work on the problem. Students who finish could be given an extension like this Google image of a local playground. Tell them that the sand was put in at a uniform depth of 15 inches. Ask them how many bags that would take. I would use a park near their school that they might remember playing in as a child.
- Share student solutions. Have students share solutions with other students, or with the whole class using a document camera or chart paper.
- Play the answer video. Discuss sources of error.
- Summarize what was learned about volume.