|Title: Wings and Other Things
Subject: Math, Science
Estimated Time of Completion:
While completing these activities, various student groups may be engaged in different
activities at different times. For example, one group may be collecting data from the
video while other groups are analyzing this data, performing measurements of their peersí
arm span or height, or entering data into a computer spreadsheet.
Depending upon the classroom management strategies
employed and the availability of materials and equipment, these activities may be
completed in 50 to 70 minutes.
After watching the segment of the video
that notes the Madagascar Fish Eagle's wing span (over 6 feet), students learn more about
their own body dimensions.
I. Instructional Objectives
III. Tools Needed
IV. Procedures and Activities
VI. Extensions and Adaptations
The student will collect real data through measurement.
The student will use proportional relationships to make
linear measurement estimations.
The student will compare the physical attributes of
students and eagles.
The student will enter data into a spreadsheet.
II. Related National Standards
This lesson correlates to the following math and
technolgoy standards established by the Mid-continent Regional Educational Laboratory
(McREL) at http://www.mcrel.org/standards-benchmarks/
- Understands the relative magnitude of whole numbers,
fractions, decimals, and mixed numbers
- Selects and uses appropriate tools for given measurement
situations (e.g., rulers for length, measuring cups for capacity, protractors for angle)
- Knows approximate size of basic standard units (e.g.,
centimeters, feet, grams) and relationships between them (e.g., between inches and feet)
- Understands that measurement is not exact (i.e.,
measurements may give slightly different numbers when measured multiple times)
- Uses specific strategies to estimate quantities and
measurements (e.g., estimating the whole by estimating the parts)
- Selects and uses appropriate units of measurement,
according to type and size of unit
- Understands that data represent specific pieces of
information about real-world objects or activities
- Understands that data come in many different forms and that
collecting, organizing, and displaying data can be done in many ways
- Knows the common features and uses of data bases (e.g.,
data bases contain records of similar data, which is sorted or organized for ease of use;
data bases are used in both print form, such as telephone books, and electronic form, such
as computerized card catalogs)
- Uses data base software to add, edit, and delete records,
and to find information through simple sort or search techniques
- Acetate graph paper (this can be made by copying a sheet of
graph paper on to a photocopy grade acetate sheet) for each student group
- Graph paper is not required but is recommended as it
reinforces data and the use of multiple tools for measurement
- Dry erase markers
- Rulers (English or metric)
- Yard or meter Stick
- Data recording materials (pencils, pens, chart/paper,
clipboards, index cards, etc.)
- Computer, presentation system and spreadsheet software.
Procedures and Activities
Using the visual data available in the video, estimate
the length of the eagle's body.
An acetate sheet will stick to a television screen due to
the static electricity. Demonstrate placing the acetate sheet on the television screen and
recording data (with the VCR on pause) by drawing a line to mark the length of wing span
and an intersecting line to approximate length. Knowing that the wing span is six feet
will allow students to use this data to estimate the other distances marked (as the length
of the Madagascar Fish Eagle's body).
Ask students to estimate the ratio of length to wing span
(i.e., is the length 1/2 as long? 1/3 as long?) Then ask them to use that ratio to try and
figure out the length measurement.
Next, students may measure the "wing span" (arm
span) of a partner. Measure the "length" (height) of a partner. Record this data
carefully. A class data recording template, a blank print out of the spreadsheet, may be
helpful to the students while also reinforcing familiarity with technology and basic
vocabulary (row, column, cell, etc.).
Discuss the following with the students:
Review the data entered in to the class spreadsheet.
Explain how you arrived at your estimate of the eagle's
body length. How much variation was there in these estimates throughout the class? Can we
consider these estimates to be accurate? How would you validate your estimate?
How does the relationship of the eagle's wing span to its
body length compare to the relation ship of your arm span to your height? Do you think
these relationships hold for all animals? Give examples.
This activity can be used to assess the various
aspects of data collection (organization, accuracy, standardization of units, etc.).
Student participation in the data collection (eagle and
student) is measurable, as is student participation in the classroom discussions.
Students could use the spreadsheet data to answer
questions such as:
Which student has the greatest arm span? Is this also the
The data could be sorted in the spreadsheet or visually
What is the average student height? What is the average
student arm span?
Statistical extensions such as mode and median height
measures can be made. In addition, more discussion of variation of data (estimates of
eagle's length) could take place.
Data collection strategies can be emphasized. Student
pairs could create data sheets before attempting to collect each other's height and arm
Some student pairs could use standard English measuring
tools (foot ruler and yard stick) while others use standard metric measuring tools
(centimeter rule and meter stick). As class results are shared, a discussion about units
of measure would surely unravel!
The relationship between length and wingspan could be
compared to other eagles in different habitats. Some discussion could take place about why
certain species of eagle have larger wing spans than others.
The same exercise (using one body measurement to estimate
another and figure out a ratio) could become an independent practice activity using other
animals pictured on The Living Edens: Madagascar Web site.