Math: The 16-sided Barn

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Essential Questions for students (objectives):  How does George Washington’s sixteen sided barn represent multiple math practices?

Supplies: Video (approx. 12 minutes) (see below) , Help Wanted at Mount Vernon by Holly Young and Cathy Morgan, note taker

Common Core Standards:  Mathematical practice #8 and #5, 7.G.2, 7.G.5, 7.EE.4
Time needed: 1 hour class period
Instructional Format: Video, student discussion
Vocabulary for a Word Wall: Regular, Equiangular, Equilateral

Step by step lesson description:

1)  Read Help Wanted at Mount Vernon up to page 17. 

2)  Show the video. 

(There is a note-taker to assist students in capturing the ideas from the video.)

3)  Allow students to explore the final question in the video. “What other regular shapes can you draw accurately using an angle measuring tool that you make yourself?”   Make sure that the students do not use a protractor.   Information for students – the most rudimentary protractor was created in 1801. 

 4)  Finish reading Help Wanted at Mount Vernon.

Exploration:  Ask students to research the most used measurement tool of the 1790’s – the sextant.  Can students describe how it measures angles?

Related Lessons:  For more information on teaching the 8 mathematical practices click Integrating the CCSS 8 Mathematical Practices into every math classroom.

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