Sponsored by Scholastic Magazine I was recently contacted by Scholastic
Magazine and asked to come up with a creative lesson or idea using their
DynaMath magazine, for students in grades 4-6.I was so excited and then panic set in immediately.My thoughts were, “How can I come up with an
original idea for Scholastic?”They sent
me the magazine and as soon as I opened it up, the ideas came pouring out.The magazine is full of high interest stories
that are current, with amazing graphics and information. The stories include math connections, but can
easily be used in other content areas including science, language arts, and social
studies. We are using STEAM in my school and this magazine is a perfect fit.
magazine makes math meaningful by applying curriculum-connected concepts to
engaging, real-world topics. Your student will also get plenty of math
practice with over 40 motivating problems in every issue (with 40 more
online)! Subscriptions also include full access to DynaMath Online
featuring instructional videos, learning games, printable skills sheets, and
much more. Grades 4–6, Monthly." Go to their website and check it out at http://scholastic.com/dynamath.
My Lesson The front cover of the
November issue is a giant Pikachu and I knew which story I was going to
highlight immediately.True confession…I
may have become a little addicted to “Pokémon Go” over the summer and many of
my fifth graders are still obsessed. I work in a Middle School setting and making connections with kids is important. What better way than something that they love?
My topic was chosen, but I wanted to plan a lesson that connected to our curriculum. I started thinking about my current science and
math standards.I wanted to teach
something that we need to learn about. I sat with my teammate and we came up with so many ideas that we decided to plan a whole day of learning! I planned a STEAM
lesson on “Gravity” and wanted to review decimal reading, writing and ordering decimals.My teaching
partner teaches ELA & SS, she planned a poetry and grammar lesson. We set a date and planned our first annual Poke Day.
One of my favorite teaching hooks is dressing up. I look silly in my hat, but it is for the kids! This is a judgment free zone. (BTW...I could not take off my Pikachu hat due to severe hat head)
The day started with our
classes in one room.I bought a set of
plastic figurines from Amazon.I had
sorted them by color and listed the eight colors on the board:
The students picked a
figurine based on their choice of color without looking. I wanted to keep it fair.(I removed Pikachu)I was surprised there were no complaints. Note: The figurines could be used in different math activities
based on your grade level and current standards; making graphs, sorting based on type, making arrays, counting, and
creating word problems, etc.
The students read the article, “Counting Pokémon” and discussed the game turning 20 and the changes in
technology over the years.We have a
huge span of reading levels and found the story perfect for all levels.The kids loved getting their magazines. They can’t wait to read the other selections with math practice.
Next, the students were given
a Pokémon Trading Template. They created their own Poke Cards. We used our Chrome
books to research our characters and collected information.We compared and ordered the decimals of their characters' heights and weights.The students took
string and measured the actual heights and could see that the drawings of characters are
not to scale.
Here are a few of the
finished trading cards. We used Pokemon.com
and went to their Pokedex tab.(Make sure this website is available in your school) If not, Google the name of the character and a photo and facts will show up. If students do not know the character, have them ask an expert in class, I had two. You can also search by colors on the Internet, with photos for names.
We broke into two groups for the next activities.Some kids wrote
poetry and went on a Poke Hunt in ELA (sorry no photos) and the other half
built parachutes used the engineering design process in my room.Then we traded off classes.
I had taught a lesson on air
resistance the day before our Poke Day and modeled all materials in a wind tunnel. I dropped samples of materials and my students observed the air resistance. The students wrote down the materials they
wanted to use and sketched their designs. We have used the designed process several times this year.
The task:to design a parachute that will get your
Pokemon to the ground safely. (we discussed that safely means slowest)
We jumped right into the
parachute building. The materials were laid out.We spent about 30 minutes
building, testing and redesigning. Both classes were engaged and love STEAM challenges.
Once both classes were
finished we took them to our back entrance that has a big foyer. We had them drop them off the
second floor railing.Students worked in
pairs and recorded their times using stopwatches. They
were beyond excited. We used decimals and ordered their times. (I wish I could share my videos)
Here are samples of their data sheets:
I will have my students complete a reflection sheet next week about our day. Learning should be fun and meaningful. This was a day that I hope they will always remember.
Do You Use Scholastic Magazines?
The day was a great success and I want to give a big shout out to Scholastic Magazine.This was my first experience with DynaMath magazine and would love to have this in my classroom on a monthly basis.It would liven up many of my math lessons and the articles would make the real-life connections. No more "Why are we learning this?" Scholastic Magazines is
hosting a #SmartTeachingTips contest for teachers to develop
your own creative ideas on how to incorporate Scholastic Magazines into the
You could win a $200 gift card from the Scholastic Teacher Store!
Share your #SmartTeachingTips for how you use Scholastic magazines creatively
in your classroom. Tell us about it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,
or Instagram, and include a photo or video.
Be sure to use #SmartTeachingTips.
Three winners will be chosen based on outstanding creativity. Each winner will
receive a $200 gift card to the Scholastic Teacher store. We’re excited to see
your ideas! Follow Scholastic Teachers on social media to learn more. Other Great Offers from Scholastic
Printables – 30 Day Free
Trial Scholastic Printables offer teachers full access to our online database of over
20,000 amazing activities, engaging lesson plans, and other incredible
teacher-created resources for grades PreK-6. Try it free for 30 days by
Scholastic Magazines - Promotional Code
Scholastic Magazines are the most affordable and exciting way to bring current,
curriculum connected nonfiction into your classroom. To save 40%, mention code
“2905” when ordering. Call 1-800-SCHOLASTIC or visit www.scholastic.com/magazines.
Good luck on the contest
and enjoy these great offers from Scholastic!
I have to be honest...I have always had a hard time understanding and enjoying physical science. I was dreading teaching this unit to my fifth graders. It is only one standard, the force of gravity pulls everything toward the center of the Earth. Once I got started developing lessons, there was no getting me down!!!
I have created a unit with many hands-on lessons, activities and STEAM challenges and I am learning to love it!!!! (I wish I had embraced Physics in high school) My goal is to get my students excited about physical science and wanting more.
True Books are a great resource for intermediate grades.
Crash Course Kids Videos on Youtube
There are videos for all the grade five standards
Great Balls of Gravity
Students have to predict which ball will hit the ground first when dropped from the same height
Students used binders to make ramps. They experimented with a marble and bouncy ball.
We used ramps and cars to explore gravity and friction.
STEAM Balloon Rockets
We had a blast with our balloon rocket challenge, using force to move things.