Today, we continue our rich task of solving a bird nest box problem. To refresh student thinking, I review the criteria from yesterday regarding the requirements for the size of the nest box. Each nest box must have a total surface area of between 625 and 750 square centimeters. The base of the nest box is required to have an area of 180 square centimeters. To insure students are constructing the understanding they will need to analyze the measurement work of their peers, I tell the students to use their whiteboards to draw and explain to their partner from yesterday, how to find the area of an irregular polygon. I expect students to separate the polygon into separate rectangles to determine the total area.
Because understanding area and applying the mathematical reasoning of deconstructing irregular polygons are critical knowledge and skills for this lesson, I demonstrate determining the area of an irregular polygon, with frequent checks for understanding, before sending students to analyze the nest boxes created by their classmates.
Students are provided centimeter rulers, tape measures, and centimeter grid paper as tools to determine the surface area of the nest boxes of other students. They record their measurements on a checklist and then calculate the area to see if the nest box meets the dimensions necessary for the bluebird.
Students work with the same partner from the previous day, and they work as a team to measure nest boxes from two different groups. Following the analysis of each box, the students respond to the prompt,
"How would you change this nest box to help the bluebird to survive?"
Information in their responses could include increasing or decreasing the size of the opening, air vents, or shade. Their responses could also include the placement of the opening, size of the roof, or changing the height of sides.
During the presentation section of the lesson, students present their own nest boxes to another group and explain why or why not their nest box will help a bluebird survive. Using their analysis of other nest boxes, they will reconsider their own designs and identify changes and improvements to protect the bird from predators.
They will also explain the area of their nest box and explain if it did or did not meet the requirements for the dimensions. They will complete an analysis sheet on their own nest box and patterns on grid paper to use for evaluation and assessment.