Inspecting Spiders

by: Jaymeca O'Neal

 Introduction Task Sources Process Evaluation Conclusion

Introduction:

We are going to study the wonderful world of spiders.  We will first read a book aloud, then we will research spiders and learn more details about them.

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The students will listen to a story and assist the teacher in picking out the key facts.  The class will then pair up to do an internet search to solve various problems related to information about spiders that is not given in the book.  The activities will focus on NCTM standards of Problem Solving and Connections.

### Problem Solving Standard for Grades 6–8

 Instructional programs from pre-kindergarten through grade 12 should enable all students to— build new mathematical knowledge through problem solving; solve problems that arise in mathematics and in other contexts; apply and adapt a variety of appropriate strategies to solve problems; monitor and reflect on the process of mathematical problem solving.

### Connections Standard for Grades 6–8

 Instructional programs from pre-kindergarten through grade 12 should enable all students to— recognize and use connections among mathematical ideas; understand how mathematical ideas interconnect and build on one another to produce a coherent whole; recognize and apply mathematics in contexts outside of mathematics.

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Sources:

Abrams, S.  (n.d.). Identifying the brown recluse spider. Retrieved November 10, 2004, from

Vest, D. (1999). The hobo spider web site.  Retrieved November 10, 2004, from

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2000). Principles and standards for school mathematics. Retrieved November 10, 2004, from

Berger, M. (2003). Spinning spiders. Illustrated by: Schindler, S.D. New York: HarperCollins Publishers Inc.

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Process:

1.  The teacher will read the book aloud after instructing the students to pay attention to detail and help the teacher pick out the important facts.  The students will be instructed to keep references of any site where they find information used in their work.

2.  The class will be asked to search the internet for any spider not mentioned in the reading, and, in pairs, will be asked to write five important facts about that spider that makes it unique.  The pair will be asked to present the submit a paper about the spider they chose with a brief explanation on why they picked that spider.

3.  The students will be asked if there are any other poisonous spiders in North America besides the ones listed in the book.  The students will then be asked to create a ratio of poisonous spiders (on our continent) to nonpoisonous spiders (world wide).  The class needs to investigate the author's information first, then develop their own answers after research.

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Evaluation:

The choice of the spider is up to the students

• Finding at least five key facts                             10 points
• Explaining why they picked it                             5 points
• Citing the source(s)                                          10 points
• Finding the number of poisonous spiders            10 points
• Finding a ratio (high variance in answers)           10 points
• Submitting the answer and class participation     5 points

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Conclusion:

The 8th grade pre-algebra class will learn to use resources to problem solve and utilize connections from past problems to build a ratio.  Using the internet the students will learn to find information, list details, and support their choices through research.  They will use this knowledge in many future math problems, so it is pertinent information.

For further exploration:

How many spiders are there in North America?

What is that ratio to the spiders in the world?

Is the author correct in all his research?  Why or why not?

http://www.discover.com

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