The Great Cathedral Math Project

How many jellybeans can cover the floor of the 4S classroom? How many pieces of popcorn could fill the Rose Window in the Cathedral? How much pasta could Chef Whittle possibly cook in an hour? How many leopard geckos can fit in a student's desk?

These are the math problems 4th grade students have been tackling during a collaboration entitled “The Great Cathedral Math Project.” As with all things pedagogically at Cathedral, the idea behind this unit of instruction is that students inevitably engage at a deeper level when they are given choice and agency in their learning. For this project, students were given a wide runway to create and solve a multi-layered math problem having to do with the School, the Close, or the Cathedral itself. They brainstormed individually and amassed over 100 possible problems to solve. They then came together as a group to eliminate problems that seemed too simple or too impractical and voted on a final set. They worked in groups to break their math problems down into manageable steps and work towards a solution. Their math journey will introduce them to concepts such as circumference, area, square footage, scale, and model making. View photos of this math exploration in the album to the right. 
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