The Chocolongo Challenge

Every year, I somehow manage to incorporate my love of chocolate into an activity that I work on with students. This year was no different. As I skimmed through the Guide to Effective Instruction for Mathematics for some ideas for our unit on measurement, I noticed the Chocolongo Challenge and immediately knew that this sweet challenge would be exciting for all. Although it’s an activity for Grade 6 students, I made modifications and we got to exploring. 

After a bit of review about perimeter, area and volume, I asked students to consider the following question: A rectangle has an area of 24 square units, what is its perimeter? Students quickly got to work trying to figure out what the connection was between area and perimeter and came up with a few potential ideas. 

After a bit more practice with area and perimeter, we took things to the third dimension, volume! With linking cubes, students were given the chance to explore perimeter, surface area, total surface area and volume. When I knew that they were ready, the Chocolongo Challenge was presented and they were excited designers who were interested in solving a specific problem.

 

It was amazing to see how engaged students were when they felt as though they were solving a real problem. They started reflecting on packaging at home and thinking about the waste involved and ways in which we can bring about change for the environment. Some students also thought back to their design projects that they have been working on and wondered if there was a way to really bring about change in relation to the amount of packaging on products in stores.

 

We connected this activity to Media Literacy as students considered a target audience for their bars and came up with unique commercials to connect with their audience. From being more eco-friendly to having delicious ingredients, these students showed what they knew about measurement and media in an amazing way. These past 3 weeks have been my reminder of the importance of making sure that the learning in the classroom is hands-on, relevant and honours the creativity of students.

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Updated: January 31, 2020 — 6:54 pm

The Author

Arianna Lambert

I'm a grade 4/5 Teacher in the Toronto District School Board who loves integrating technology and mindfulness in the classroom. Through inquiry and design, I work with students who are engaged in meaningful learning opportunities; developing core competencies, while creating ways to make the world an even better place. I am the recipient of a TDSB Excellence Award for the co-creation of #tdsbEd, Twitter chats for educators. Through conversations on trends in Education from STEAM to Mindfulness, it has become an online community of educators dedicated to improving their practice to ensure greater student success, well-being and achievement.

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