Measuring Mass at Minnesauke

Measuring Mass at Minnesauke photo

Problem-solving skills and mathematical knowledge was on full display at Minnesauke Elementary School, as students took part in a Mass Cart initiative created by school math AIS teacher Paul Wilgenkamp.

On top of the cart were several different items, including a sneaker belonging to Principal Dr. Brian Biscari, a beanbag, baseball, stuffed animal and small water shoe. The cart was also decorated with different math facts, including conversion amounts for pounds to grams and information about mass and weight, all geared toward helping students solve a series of questions. To provide a baseline comparison for an item’s weight, Dr. Biscari’s sneaker was placed on top of a scale in a sealed glass box.

During lunch periods, the students visited the cart and took a turn answering questions that increased in difficulty based on grade level. Kindergarteners and first-graders guessed which displayed item they thought had the most mass; second- and third-graders ranked the items from 1-4 based on how much mass they believed they had; fourth-graders converted Dr. Biscari’s sneaker’s mass into grams and then predicted the small water shoe’s mass in grams; and fifth- and sixth-graders converted Dr. Biscari’s sneaker’s mass in grams and ounces as well as predicted the small water shoe’s mass in grams or ounces. They were allowed to pick up each item to feel them and to aid in the comparison efforts. 

At the end of the week, Mr. Wilgenkamp reviewed the submissions and presented small awards to those who correctly answered their respective question.