Monday, October 27, 2014

BIG things in math - part 2

Read part one to see how my fifth grade students began using Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada's "Out of Many, One" in math class.

This satellite image was captured by DigitalGlobe's GeoEye-1 satellite
on Oct. 6, 2014. Image from the National Portrait Gallery's website.
After figuring out how much dirt was used in the creation of "Out of Many, One," my kids tried to figure out just how big this colossal artwork is. We looked at a number of photos of the work, but decided that the one to the right gave us the easiest picture to measure. It didn't take long for students to realize that they needed more information to figure out the scale.

I pulled up a map of the National Mall on Google Maps to give us some context of the area. After a little discussion, we decided that we should figure out the length of another feature in the picture. We chose the road to the west of the DC War Memorial. Although the road had a small curve around the memorial, it was the easiest to clearly identify in the picture and on the map. The road measured 400 feet long. Students used that measurement to come up with a scale for the map and estimate the square footage of "Out of Many, One." If I were to do this project again, I would find measurements for other landmarks, such as the width of the reflecting pool, to see if we come up with similar estimates when basing our scale on other known distances.
Image from Google Maps
We weren't done exploring big things just yet. My students went from using scale to estimate the size of this artwork to creating their own scale drawings for a giant artwork. They're still working hard on that project, and I promise to let you know how it goes.

You can see my students' final project in part three.

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