Activities & Lesson Plans - 3rd & 4th Grade Newsletter 3/19/10 - Jump Into March Madness

Grade: 3rd-4th
March 19, 2010 | Grades 3&4
In This Issue: Rowing for Charity, Recess Coaches, NCAA Basketball Tourney

A Rowing Record

After 70 days on the Atlantic Ocean, Katie Spotz sailed into the record books. The 22-year-old became the youngest person to row an entire ocean solo. She's also the first American to row a boat, without help, from mainland to mainland. Her trip, from Africa to South America, raised money to provide clean drinking water for people in need.

Activity Ideas - Math

Tell your child that it took Spotz 70 days, 5 hours and 22 minutes to finish her journey. 

  • Have your child break down the total amount of time into hours. 1,685 hours (24 hours/day x 70 days = 1,680 hours) (1,680 hours + 5 hours = 1,685 hours)
  • Now calculate the number of minutes that she spent crossing the ocean. 101,122 minutes (1,680 hours x 60 minutes = 100,800 minutes) (5 hours x 60 minutes = 300 minutes) (100,800 minutes + 300 minutes + 22 minutes = 101,122 minutes)

Share this with your child: Spotz's 2,817-mile journey raised more than $70,000 for the Blue Planet Run Foundation. 

  • How much money did she earn per mile? $25.85 ($70,000 ÷ 2,817 miles = $24.85 a mile). ASK: How can you check to see if your answer is correct? (Multiply dollar amount per mile by total miles traveled.)
  • Have your child check his or her answer. (2,817 x $25.85 = $70,002)
Learning Tips: Apply Strategies to Complex ProblemsGive Clear Evidence for Your Answer.

New Way to Play
Hundreds of schools across the country are redesigning recess. The aim is to get kids moving each day and to teach kids to play well together, for starters. Nonprofit organization Playworks has placed recess coaches in 170 schools. 

Activity Ideas - Language Arts

  • Together with your child, read "Kids Feel the Power of Poetry in Performance," about slam poetry.
  • Discuss the ways in which gestures and movement can punch up a poem. 
  • Suggest your child plan a slam session with a few friends. Kids who don't want to write a poem can choose a poem or favorite verses from a song.
  • Brainstorm together on ways to physically act out each poem.  
  • Stage a poetry slam with lots of dramatic gestures and movements.

Bonus: The rhythmic pace of jump-roping seems to help kids memorize. Suggest your child memorize a poem while jumping rope. How long did it take him or her? Then have your child memorize a poem of similar length while sitting still. Compare the results. 

Learning Tips: Recite Poems, Soliloquies and DialoguesRhythmic Patterns
Game: Wizards and Pigs

The Madness of March

Spring fever isn't nearly as contagious as March Madness, the
NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament. On March 18, 65 college teams joined the Big Dance. Stay tuned to nonstop coverage to see which college team will bounce to the top.

Activity Ideas - Math
Share this with your child: Part of the tournament fun lies in graphing the results. Fans fill out brackets showing teams and match-ups for each stage of the tournament. Show your child what a bracket looks like.
  • Discuss the team rankings with your child: teams are assigned a number from 1-16; the best teams have the lowest numbers and the worst teams have the highest.
  • On paper, the lower the total when you subtract one ranking from the other, the closer the teams should be in ability. Have your child figure out which should be the most competitive games before each round.
  • In the first round, all four brackets play eight games. How many games is that total? (8 games x 4 brackets = 32 games)
  • How many games does a team need to win to become the national champion? Six.

Game of the Week

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