Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Hands-on learning is always fun, especially when it involves instruments like candy buttons, gumdrops, Red Hots and creamy white frosting.
With walls of graham crackers and chimneys of candy canes and red licorice, Mid Valley Elementary School fifth-graders were hard at work this week constructing a Willy Wonka suburb of cookie-cutter gingerbread houses. The annual finger-licking holiday tradition took a twist for the class this year, however, as students were no longer cut loose with building materials and a one-time "get out of jail free card" for eating candy in class.
"It's a tradition we wanted to keep," said teacher Judith Holt-Mohar. "But with higher math standards and tests, we have to find ways to turn something like this into more than just a fun holiday activity. So we're using it to introduce students to geometry and simple formulas."
While studying formulas for surface area and volume of three-dimensional objects, students first constructed houses out of paper and learned how to determine the number of small cubes that would fit on and inside of them. Only then could they move on to graham cracker walls and Skittles ceilings.
"We have to make every minute count," Holt-Mohar said. "What we're learning in this lesson is just an introduction. By the end of the school year they will face more difficult questions in geometry and math."
In a move to prepare students for the increased challenges of the new Common Core State Standards and the Oregon Diploma, the Oregon State Board of Education voted in 2010 to increase math achievement standards grades 3-8. The change went into effect in the 2010-11 school year.
Recommendations by a panel of experts were to increase the level of math students are expected to know in elementary and middle school to create better alignment between the lower grades and the new high school graduation requirements for math.
The Oregon Department of Education noted that although the raised bar will initially result in fewer students meeting the achievement standards, it is necessary in order to ready students for the state's new graduation requirements. The department explained that, "fewer students meeting the achievement standard will not mean students know less than they did the year before or that they are doing worse in school. The new achievement standards simply require a higher level of mastery of mathematics information and concepts."
More like this story
- Letters to the Editor for May 28
- Mercado del Valle opens June 2 in new location
- Marble and Shepherd are Elks Students of the Month for May
- Riverside UCC votes for fossil fuel divestment
- Sheriff Log, May 15 to 22
- Community Baby Shower June 4
- ‘Air Panther’ goes aloft
- HRV beats OES, Lincoln, to take sailing state championship
- HRV girls lax wins inaugural Navy championship
- HRV baseball routs Eagle Point in Battle of the Eagles, advances to quarterfinal matchup with Ashland
Lawnmower torches Arbor Vitae on Portland Drive
The riding lawn mower driven by Norma Cannon overheated and made contact with dry arbor vitae owned by Lee and Norma Curtis, sending more than a dozen of the tightly-packed trees up in flames. The mower, visible at far right, was totaled. No one was injured; neighbors first kept the fire at bay with garden hoses and Westside and Hood River Fire Departments responded and doused the fire before it reached any structures. Westside Fire chief Jim Trammell, in blue shirt, directs firefighters. The video was taken by Capt. Dave Smith of Hood River Fire Department. Enlarge