Teaching Rounding with Rollercoasters
Teaching rounding can be hard and monotonous, so I try to make it as fun for myself as possible because teacher fun=student fun!
I’m a story teller. I love to hook my students with a good story, even if it means I have to embellish a little along the way. To kick off the first day of rounding, I launch into a dramatic story about visiting King’s Dominion when I was 8 (King’s Dominion is the closest amusement park to us and my students are 8). I talk about the roller coaster with the steepest drop and I pull up a picture of it for them to look at. Then, I take a break and have them talk to each other about their related experiences. After a couple minutes, I grab their attention again by telling them how one time, I was in line waiting and watching the roller coaster run, when all of a sudden it stopped. It was going up the hill and it just stopped. Then I ask my students what they think happened and the answers are usually wild. I use my hands or whatever prop I have to describe how since the coaster hadn’t yet reach the top, it just slid back down. Then we talk about what would have happened if the roller coaster had actually made it to the top before it stopped.
After I have their complete attention and we’ve been along the entire journey of storytelling together, I connect it to rounding. I know, it seems like I’m doing a lot…I am. What I’ve found is that many of my students come to me with no schema and so any time I can build it with them, the connections make the content stick.
I show them a picture of a roller coaster and point to three different points (going up, at the top, and going down) asking, “What would happen if the roller coaster car stopped here?” The kids are usually kids to respond with, “The roller coaster would fall backwards and would not go over the hill” or “The roller coaster would keep going and make it all the way down the hill”. I draw a roller coaster on the board and we place numbers along the track to show which numbers would cause the coaster to fall back or keep going.
Click here to grab the free activity I created to go along with this lesson. I created a rounding roller coast cut and sort activity intended for use in an interactive notebook, but it can certainly be used separately. Then Then, I make the connection to our rounding roller coaster and we talk about where to place the numbers that would cause us to round down and round up.
Talk to you soon,
Awesome! I love your rounding roller coaster! I may have to borrow your story though. Lol
Thanks Adrienne !! It’s a great idea to teach.