Metric Measurement: Students should know it, but do they remember it?
At the beginning of each new school year I take time to review and reinforce metric measurement skills. My students are in high school, and they should know this stuff, right? The answer to that is both yes and no. Most of my students come to me very well prepared. I have no complaints about the teachers they had before me.....their teachers did an excellent job preparing them for my chemistry or AP Biology class. For many of my incoming students, it seems they have the knowledge they need, but over the summer this knowledge sinks down deep into their brains and must be retrieved and/or rediscovered.
On the first or second day of school, I quickly assess the metric skills of my students and plan a lesson or two accordingly. If you are a teacher you know that each year brings us a very different group of students. Some years all my students need is a very light refresher lesson, and other years they need much more instruction.
The student reads each card, performs the task, and records his/her answer on the included student answer sheet.
My set of Metric Measurement Task Cards contains 90 cards. They range in difficulty from easy to hard. I like that I can "customize" instruction by picking and choosing from the set of cards. I never put students into groups during class time based on ability level, but I do have students who come to me both before and after school for tutoring. At these times, I can provide the student with a set of task cards perfect for their needs.
There are many reasons I enjoy using task cards with my students:
- They are great for early finishers. Especially during lab time, some students are simply going to finish early. Task cards are kept in the lab and are perfect for enrichment.
- Task cards are a wonderful tool for tutoring.
- A student can be given certain task cards that are unique to the needs of that student.
- Task cards can be set up in a lab practical format. My students love being able to get up and move around rather than being confined to a desk for the entire class period.
- Task cards can be hung on a peg board and given to the student for reinforcement at any time of the year.
- Task cards are a wonderful way to review for a unit test or a semester exam.
I have found that if I spend some time at the beginning of the school year getting my students to "think metric" again, the rest of the year goes much smoother.
Good luck with your teaching and have a great school year!