Project M²—Grade Two: Overview of the Units




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Designing a Shape Gallery: Geometry with the Meerkats

Geometry is “grasping space…that space in which the child lives, breathes, and moves. The space that the child must learn to know, explore, conquer, in order to live, breathe, and move better in it.”

(Freudenthal, in NCTM, 1989)
Geometry is essentially the study of the space we live in. Geometry also helps us learn more about other areas of mathematics such as number, algebra and measurement. Connections to science and art are easily made as students develop spatial sense by building shapes and designs.

meerkats geom

In Designing a Shape Gallery: Geometry with the Meerkats students explore 2- and 3-dimensional shapes and the relationships among them. The reasoning and spatial sense skills that they use will help them develop an understanding of the properties of shapes and relationships among shapes as they advance in their geometric thinking.

  • Chapter 1 focuses on 2-dimensional shapes and the tiling of shapes using transformations to create tessellations.
  • Chapter 2 explores the relationship between 3- and 3-dimensional shapes using 3-dimensional tangram blocks and bubbles.
  • Chapter 3 investigates composing and decomposing 2- and 3-dimensional shapes.

Throughout the unit students will be involved in creating a Shape Gallery for the Sensational Math Institute for Learning and Exploration (SMILE), the Meerkats’ children’s museum. Students will also be developing their mathematical communication skills by communicating with the Meerkats, Dru and Teller.

Measuring with the Meerkats

meerkats measure

Measurement is a process that students use in their lives every day as they explore the world around them at home, at school, and in their community. They wonder how long the earthworm is, how tall they are compared to their best friend, how much older they are than their baby sister, how big the soccer field is, and how many cups of juice their new thermos holds. And this is just for starters!

In Measuring with the Meerkats students will explore the measurement concepts of length, area, and capacity.

  • Chapter 1 focuses on the attribute of length. Student will come to understand the need for equal-length units and learn about and use iteration through conducting safety crash tests.
  • Chapter 2 involves measuring area. Students learn the difference between area and length and learn to measure area using non-overlapping equal-sized units to cover a 2-dimensional space, such as the meerkats’ dens.
  • Chapter 3 introduces capacity as the amount of material a container is able to hold when full. Students will collect and analyze data while conducting an experiment related to the measurement of capacity.

Throughout the units students will also develop mathematical communication skills by taking on roles as speakers, listeners, and writers in a math learning environment by communicating with two meerkats, Dru and Teller, who are interested in measurement.