Friday, May 18, 2012

Weekly Class Summary: May 14-18

SOLs Covered: 6.10 & 7.5 Surface Area & Volume of Rectangular Prisms
Math Dictionary Sections: (33) Solids; (34) Surface Area & Volume
Upcoming Assessments: Math 6 SOL Test (Block 1 Thurs. 5/31, Block 2 Fri. 6/1, Block 4 Mon. 6/4)

This week's new topic focused on surface area and volume, which started with an activity involving linking cubes. After making various sized cubes, (2-by-2-by-2, 3-by-3-by-3, etc), students then had to determine how many of the linking cubes' faces (0 to 6 faces per individual cube) would have paint on them if someone hypothetically came along and spray painted the whole cubes from all sides.   This led to a discussion about how the "painted" faces would be the surface area. We then discussed how the number of individual linking cubes used to make each bigger cube (i.e. 2-by-2-by-2 uses 8 linking cubes) makes up the volume and how this relates to volume being measured in cubic units. We moved onto using the formulas to calculate both surface area (SA = 2lw + 2lh + 2wh) and volume (V = lwh) for all rectangular prisms.  Students then worked together to calculate a "real-life" problem involving a shipment of boxes by a trucking company, using the dimensions of the boxes and trucks to figure out how many trucks were needed to ship a specific number of boxes.   Using their work, they analyzed six different responses to the same question, deciding which methods worked and which did not work.   We discussed how finding the mistakes in others work can help us learn how to find our own mistakes.

After students took the quiz for the volume and surface area unit (our last official sixth grade topic!), we jumped into SOL Review Mode.  We put together our two SOL folders, the first containing all five of their "You Can Do It!" Quizzes (which are the equivalent of one SOL simulation test), a copy of the county's simulation test, and any of their old spiral review quizzes they have saved throughout the year.  It also contains a letter to parents with further details on the upcoming SOL test, where to find additional state resources, the student's scores for each assignment, and an item analysis page on the back, which students will be using next week to pin down their high-need areas for studying/reviewing purposes. The second folder contains all of the review sections that pair up with the "YCDI!" quizzes (ex. section one matches quiz one, both assessing the non-calculator portions of the Numbers & Number Sense category and the Computation & Estimation category).  We will add a mini-review booklet to the folder next week as well as released questions that will be used for next week's homework.

It is very important that these folders and the Math Dictionary are brought to class everyday as they will be the main focus. If students are concerned with forgetting or loosing the folders, they can stay in class; electronic copies of the materials from the second folder can be found on EdLine and on GoogleDocs.   While the test this year is expected to be harder than any of the previous sixth grade tests, I know all my students will be successful if they prepare themselves as we've discussed in class.   Next week will be a solid week of reviewing, so please try your hardest to attend school everyday possible.   Parents, please encourage your student to review a little every night, not just the night before the big test!

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