Saturday, September 19, 2015

Snapshot: 6 Millet by the Million

The sixth grade took time to explore the meaning of place value and the relative size of large numbers. They worked as a collective to count out a million millet seeds to visual the number one million. We started by individually counting out 10 millet. Each student then counted out 100 millet. Many were surprised by how small one hundred appeared in their Dixie cups.
10 millet

100 millet

One thousand millet was collected by each table. At this point, we realized that this method was going to take all year! So we moved to counting by weight. We weighted the 1000 millet to the nearest hundredth of a gram. We discovered that our numbers varied by almost eight-tenths of a gram! There was great discussion about how to proceed. We agreed that finding an average weight for 1000 was needed but could not decide whether or not to add in the outlier in the data or to discard it. We looked at how much of a difference including the outlier made in our average and we finally settled on discarding the data because it made our 1000 count vary by several hundred millet. From this point, the process went quickly. Each split counted out 333,330 millet. We came together as a grade and ceremonially poured our millet together and added the final 10 millet to make a million! 

It was fun to do a collaborative project with the whole grade. Now, when we talk about millions, we have a point of reference to understand and conceptualize this very large number!