Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Cookies point way to learning at Lindbergh Schweitzer Elementary

When grade 6 students at Lindbergh Schweitzer Elementary School in Clairemont saw their teachers opening bags of Oreo cookies, little did they know they were in for a math lesson.

A project of teachers Bridget Kyi and Caye Baxter, students learned that stacking cookies was a good way to incorporate creativity, collaboration, communication, scientific strategies, problem solving, critical thinking, as well as experimenting with a delicious popular food item. The project was the school's contribution to O.R.E.O. Project 15, an international project that each year uses Oreo cookies in a different educational activity.

"I liked this project was because absolutely everyone has access to real life mathematics," said Kyi.
Working in teams of four or five students, each had un-timed turns to try and stack as many cookies as they could. Students were judged on the number of cookies used, not the height. Students estimated how many they thought they could stack as well as guess if it would be an easy or hard task to accomplish. They couldn't use anything to stabilize the cookies and once their hand left the cookie, they could not reach back to reposition it.

There were many favorite techniques to stacking; standing was preferred, some students knelt down to be at eye level with the table,some held one arm behind their back, some stood over the stack as if to get a better view, and of course, no elbows on the table.

In all, the students were eager to try and break the classroom record of 30, with the average being 22.