December 2020: Featured Lessons – Grades 6-8 Math/Science

Check out December’s featured resources – seasonal lessons, subject area content, and some of our staff favorites too! 

Where Does the Daylight Go?

Grade(s): 6, 7

Subject(s): ELA, Science

It’s the time of year when the number of hours of daylight starts to become noticeably shorter. This activity gives students an opportunity to understand how the Earth’s position in space and orbit affect the number of hours of daylight for different locations around the world. Students will engage with several different simulations that make these concepts come to life.

Students will also be able to investigate the methods used by several ancient civilizations to make sense of the changing patterns of sunlight on the Earth and compare what ancient civilization knew with our current knowledge.

Holly Jolly Trig: Part 1

Grade(s): 7, 8

Subject(s): Math

Ho Ho Ho. Bring holiday cheer into the math classroom with a Santa-inspired Pythagorean Theorem and Distance project. Santa has come down with an untimely hamstring injury just days before Christmas Eve and is causing all sorts of triangular chaos.

In “Chimney Dilemmas”, students will interpret ladder application problems and use the Pythagorean Theorem to solve for missing variables and make decisions.

Complete all three parts of the Holly Jolly Trig project to send Santa on the shortest route in the least amount of time.

Winter Sports Math

Grade(s): 6, 7

Subject(s): Math

In this lesson students work in groups and watch a series of videos on eight selected winter sports. They then assign a perceived difficulty level for each sport for given categories. They find mean, median and mode and rank the sports in order of perceived difficulty.

Students can use the interactive ranking tool to show their final ranking of the sports and compare these with the rest of the class and view the class average.

The lesson finishes with the opportunity to calculate percentages and decimals and think about other ways to display their data.

Freezing Substances

Grade(s): 6

Subject(s): Science

In this Rank & Reason, students consider the freezing temperature of various substances. They rank these according to the substance that will freeze in the least amount of time when placed into a freezer.

This question is designed to have no right answer. Students must think critically and provide justification for their rankings. Interactive features allow students to compare their rankings with others and to the class average.

Hit the Slopes

Grade(s): 8

Subject(s): Math

In Hit the Slopes, students use the prices of lift tickets and ski lessons to write linear equations and solve a system. As marketing executives, they make decisions about the best promotional package to offer during the last week of the ski season. This performance task has different editions for 7 ski resorts, including Northstar, Vail, and Snowbird.

You Wanna Build A Snowman?

Grade(s): 7, 8

Subject(s): Math

Turn your frozen classroom into a geometric extravaganza! Students will take a snowball fight to a whole new level when they argue over how to determine the volume of the white orb.

In “Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway”, students brainstorm ways to determine the volume of a sphere that is whole. Then, students will examine a variety of different snow balls, use given circumference measurement, determine the radius and use the radius to estimate the volume of the sphere. In “Fixer Upper”, students apply previous thinking and determine volumes of multi-sphered snowmen to decide which has the biggest overall volume. In “You Wanna Build a Snowman?”, (weather permitting) teams of students will be tasked to build a snowman. The challenge is to see which team can create the snowman with the largest estimated volume. This is of course estimations (if you live somewhere that doesn’t snow, feel free to do this out of white play-dough or a similar matter).

You (or the class) will evaluate the “roundness” of the spheres. Each team will be given a roundness multiplier from 0.1 to 1.0. Teams will use a tape measure to estimate the circumference of each ball and will use this information to calculate their estimated volume and sketch a drawing of their snowman. Teams will multiply their estimated volume by their roundness multiplier to calculate their final score. You can decide a winner!

Hackathon Part 1

Grade(s): 6, 7, 8

Subject(s): Math, ELA, Science

Learning to code is something everyone can do. This project makes use of resources published for the Hour of Code and organizes them into a “hackathon” for upper elementary or middle school students. Resources are easily followed and the teacher can learn with the students in a collaborative environment.

The project uses the Rank and Reason Tool and video to kickoff and engages students at the Wannabe level. Students can then move through tasks at the Junior Coder level, Code Monkey level, and finally Hacker Level – reflecting on their learning as they go.

Be sure to check out all our 6-8 Math/Science seasonal content here.