## Wednesday, April 10, 2013

### The Broken Ruler Talk and Swap (freebie)

Have you heard the research about the average young mathematician's inability to give an accurate measure of an object when it's moved to a spot on the ruler other than 0?  The results are not so good and prove that the typical youngster doesn't understand a ruler and how to use it.

Donna from Math Coach's Corner has a great post about this concept and uses broken rulers to help remedy this measurement problem for kids.  I combined her idea with a review concept I saw on Mrs. Daniel's blog Second Grace Sparkle to create the following activity.

I made the following four pages of broken ruler cards and cut them apart to create 24 individual cards.

Each mathematician gets one card and holds it in front of them while facing a partner who is doing the same.  Kid 1 identifies the length on Kid 2's card.  Kid 2 identifies the length on Kid 1's card.  They swap and find new partners and on and on it goes.  Mrs. Daniel calls it Happy Talk.  I hope she doesn't mind that I call it Talk and Swap.

If you're looking for a great math blog to follow, I'd recommend checking out Donna's.  She knows what she's talking about!

FYI: This lesson was preceded by the creation of informal rulers, which definitely set them up to understand the above activity better.  Go here if you'd like to know more.

1. Great math lesson! Love the freebie too!
Lori
Conversations in Literacy

1. Lori, thanks so much. I'm glad you think so!

2. I really appreciate this! I was shocked to see so many of my firsties start measuring at 1 inch if the zero was not printed on the ruler. What an eye opener!

1. Melissa, it is an eye opener for sure.

3. Awesome freebie. My 3rd graders still have trouble with this - thanks!
Heather
Kickin' It With Class

1. Heather, I think the studies show that even 5th graders can be tricked by this. Hopefully what we're doing in the younger grades will fix that now.

4. Thanks so much for this great adaptation! I just blogged about it! :)

Donna
Math Coach’s Corner

1. Donna, that makes my day. Thank you so much for spotlighting my blog.

5. Okay, clearly it's just me and I must be having a brain bubble moment, but I don't understand how you're using these. I looked at Donna's post and that didn't help me either. If they're looking at an object NOT placed at the zero, how is that helping them? ALL your ideas and posts are fabulous, Tammy, so I know I'm going to read your reply and say "Oh duh, I should have figured that out." Ha ha. Please help me :))
❀Barbara❀
Ruby Slippers Blog Designs

1. Barb, I doubt you're the only one who wonders about this. This is a new concept for me too. I'll email you. (You make me smile by the way.)

6. Hi Tammy,
I came over from Donna's blog to check out your broken ruler activity. Love what I am seeing and will be your newest follower. As soon as our printer/copier gets fixed (hopefully before the weekend starts!) I am going to head down and make a set of these to use with my K-2 kids. Thanks!

Tara
The Math Maniac

1. Tara, I'm very honored that you would follow me. Thank you for doing so and leaving a comment too!

7. This is exactly what I need for my second graders. Thank your for sharing!

1. Anonymous, I'm glad to hear this hit the spot!

8. I am shocked about the broken ruler concept ... I actually had a high school math class using slide rule! I love your way of bringing them back to the basics!

Barbara

1. Barbara, this misconception was new to me too. Thankfully we're on the right track now.

9. Thank you - this is the lesson I was going to teach tomorrow, and you just made it 100% better!

1. Lisa, wow so cool. I'm glad to hear that!

10. This is great! I teach math to pre-service elementary teachers, and they often do not appreciate the difficulties involved in measuring with a ruler. I plan to direct them to this post. I am sure that they will learn a lot from your experiences. Thank you!