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I am looking at having my 7th grade students incorporate their work with converting metric measurements, using fractions, and scale drawings with our social studies teacher. She is teaching south Asia, so a replica of the Taj Mahal seems appropriate. I have found some measurements online, but wondered if any of you have ever found a good resource. I would like actual measurements so we can convert to standard measurement, then reduce to scale with a fraction.

Any ideas? Also, this is my first year, so advice on controlling the actual building activity would be appreciated.

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Hello, Kevin,

One of the MSP2 Math Resource Guides is specifically on ratios. I'm not familiar with the resource, so don't know if this would be helpful.

I've sent a "shout out" to the Math Group to see if someone might be able to give you some advice about online resources regarding the Taj Mahal and on managing your hands-on, building activity.

A few thoughts about managing the activity:
1. If students will be working cooperatively...
a. pay attention to building cooperative skills incrementally. Before students can work on a complex challenge in a cooperative group, they need to have had experience and guidance in learning cooperative skills necessary for success. For example--managing time; managing resources and materials; listening; brainstorming; planning.
b. identify and help kids choose and be responsible for roles that facilitate good cooperation. For example--time keeper, materials/resource manager, note-taker, complementer.
c. make sure that individual AND group accountability

2. Think about using a rubric for assessing the project. Involve kids in the development of the rubric, so they are clear about the expectations and the assessment of their efforts toward meeting those expectations. Involving students in developing rubrics also helps to facilitate ownership. Students have said, "This is important." The rubric would address not only the "product," but also the "process" (e.g., demonstrated ability to help others, willingness to explain ideas to teammates, manages time effectively).

M

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Kevin,

What an interesting project! My advice for the building portion of this project would be to use safe materials and tools. Especially with middle school students, it is amazing how quickly seemingly innocuous materials can become safety hazards!

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Hey Kevin,

If you have access to a computer projector, computer lab, or some laptops, I would suggest building it virtually using Google SketchUp

Its a great (and free) program that I use with my students. They can either attempt to build it from scratch (with fairly acurate online building tools) or can look at some pretty cool 3D models that are already posted.

If you decide to go this route and have any specific questions, please let me know.

Tom

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Hello, Kevin!

You might want to look at a webquest used by another teacher on the pyramids of Egypt---just for ideas of how to organize:
http://users.wcvt.com/tiggr/ Mr. Pitonyak's Pyramid Puzzle. He divides the class into groups of 4, each with an engineer, a project director, a secretary, and an accountant. He also gives them a specific question to answer and talks about grading the project.

There are actual measurements given here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origins_and_architecture_of_the_Taj_Ma... on a Wiki site.

You may or may not like this lesson plan The Mathematics of the Taj Mahal http://peer.tamu.edu/LessonPlan.asp?id=95&file=activity but at leat you can download the MiniModule [see top of page] and then choose to look at the Worksheet; you'll find some measurements there.

A small thought: If the measurements are given in metric, you might want to use that for your basic scale, instead of converting to inches, feet, etc.

Have fun!
Terry Herrera

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The conversion from metric to standard was one of the items I wanted to incorporate. It fits one of our state standards well. However, I may save that for after the scale model is built, then translating measurements for reference to an american architectural piece.

Terese (Terry) Herrera said:
Hello, Kevin!

You might want to look at a webquest used by another teacher on the pyramids of Egypt---just for ideas of how to organize:
http://users.wcvt.com/tiggr/ Mr. Pitonyak's Pyramid Puzzle. He divides the class into groups of 4, each with an engineer, a project director, a secretary, and an accountant. He also gives them a specific question to answer and talks about grading the project.

There are actual measurements given here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origins_and_architecture_of_the_Taj_Ma... on a Wiki site.

You may or may not like this lesson plan The Mathematics of the Taj Mahal http://peer.tamu.edu/LessonPlan.asp?id=95&file=activity but at leat you can download the MiniModule [see top of page] and then choose to look at the Worksheet; you'll find some measurements there.

A small thought: If the measurements are given in metric, you might want to use that for your basic scale, instead of converting to inches, feet, etc.

Have fun!
Terry Herrera

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Tom,

I am downloading this right now. I think I will still go with a scale model, but will use this as a planning tool. If I run into questions, expect a flurry of messages from me.

Tom Jenkins said:
Hey Kevin,

If you have access to a computer projector, computer lab, or some laptops, I would suggest building it virtually using Google SketchUp

Its a great (and free) program that I use with my students. They can either attempt to build it from scratch (with fairly acurate online building tools) or can look at some pretty cool 3D models that are already posted.

If you decide to go this route and have any specific questions, please let me know.

Tom

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Andrew, yes this will be built from styrofoam. I am concerned with cutting tools even for that, but will figure that out soon enough.

Andrew Waller said:
Kevin,

What an interesting project! My advice for the building portion of this project would be to use safe materials and tools. Especially with middle school students, it is amazing how quickly seemingly innocuous materials can become safety hazards!

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