The results are in: the 8-10 year old group collaborated on the "Lost on the Moon" exercise and performed better in small groups than they did individually!
Their individual scores were within nine points of one another, which I thought was very interesting (possible scores have a wide range). When they came together in groups of three and argued their positions, consensus building began and answers had to be supported by logic and existing knowledge of space and the moon's characteristics. We made the connection that scientists often use consensus building in problem solving and talked about why that might be necessary or valuable.
We took this opportunity to blend in basic math skills when discussing the suggested answers and calculating our scores (fraction of a whole number, adding columns of two digit numbers, and finding averages).
After finishing the "Moon" exercise we worked through some extra practice problems. Your student should have a handout in his or her binder -- we worked through the problems and answers together for all except the last problem. The students had a couple different answers for the "cow" problem, and I'd like them to think more about it this week and be prepared to discuss next Monday.
Also, for homework, is the "Stranded on a Desert Island!" activity. Have them complete numbers 1-2 only at home -- we will do numbers 3-5 in class and discuss our answers using our new consensus building skills! We will explore further the idea of individual decision making vs. group decisions and talk about circumstances where one method might be better than the other.
See you next week -- remember the semester ends on Monday, January 28, and a new one begins Monday, February 11. Thank you!