Activities & Lesson Plans - 3rd & 4th Grade Newsletter 3/26/10 - Women In Math And Science

Grade: 3rd-4th

March 26, 2010 | Grades 3&4

In This Issue: A Reading Relationship, An Unbelievable Bracket, Math and Science Stereotypes

Kideos Tale of Peter RabbitBooks to Bond By
When his youngest daughter, Kristen, entered fourth grade, Jim Brozina suggested they read together before bed 100 days in a row. "The Streak" was his way of stretching their nighttime read-aloud sessions beyond the age that her older sister had decided she'd outgrown them. Upon reaching 100, they changed their goal to 1,000, then kept going until they reached 3,218 nights in a row.  

Activity Ideas - Language Arts
Reading & Writing
  • Challenge your child to a reading streak. Together, set reasonable goals; he or she could try to read one or two books a month, for example.
  • Suggest that he or she keep a reading journal, to write down favorite characters and books, as well as books he or she would like to read
  • Have your child write a short book review once a month. 

Learning Tips: Main Events of the Plot
Game: Reading Skills Rocket
One in a Million
This March has made some basketball fans especially mad. Many top teams didn't make it through rounds one and two of the NCAA Tournament. This has messed up people's brackets. Not Alex Hermann. The 17-year-old had a perfect bracket through the first two rounds. On Thursday, Syracuse lost to Butler, breaking Alex's winning streak

Activity Ideas - Math
Alex has managed to do the nearly impossible by picking every game through the first two rounds correctly. The odds of anybody doing that is 13,460,000 to 1, according to

  • Discuss the meaning of odds with your child. ASK: If you have a 13 million to 1 chance of a perfect bracket, is it likely or unlikely that you will have a perfect bracket? (Unlikely.)
  • Tell him or her that it is nearly impossible to pick a perfect bracket because of the large number of teams and all the ways to fill out a bracket—9 quintillion to be exact, according to a DePaul University professor.
  • Look at an updated 2010 NCAA Tournament Bracket to go over some possible scenarios with your child. (For example, if Butler had lost to Murray State in the second round, then Murray State would have played Syracuse. Murray State is a much lower seed than Butler; assuming Syracuse won, the team would have a shot at the championship.) 

Women in Math and Science
A recent report concluded that men still outnumber women in math and science careers. That seems to be changing, as more women are receiving doctorates in science, technology, engineering or math. Still, stereotypes and cultural biases continue to be an issue.

Activity Ideas - Language Arts
Share this with your child: The report included research showing that girls' work suffers from any suggestion that they do poorly in math. As such, teaching girls about how stereotypes hurt performance can diminish such effects.

  • Review the definition of a "stereotype" with your child. Discuss how a stereotype could make people doubt themselves. (A person, especially a child, might believe the stereotype and stop trying.)
  • Have your child imagine that he or she is a lawyer defending women's abilities as scientists and mathematicians. What would be good evidence? (Past or current examples of women who are succeeding in both fields.)
  • Together with your child, build a case for women: Find and research women who have made a name for themselves in math or science. 
  • Write an essay that discounts the stereotype by citing real-life examples of women succeeding in math and science. 
Learning Tips: Using a Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia and Online Information

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