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Transdisciplinary Learning in Action at EBI

Thursday, October 27, 2016

What is ten times more than a million? a billion? a trillion? is it a quadrillion?!! Fifth graders inquire about scientific notation and standard form for these huge quantities through a recent scientific discovery. Ms.Jessie facilitated a fascinating discussion setting a real-life example of the concepts developed in math class. This real-life example was pulled from the pages of the Astrophysical Journal "We thought the observable universe contained billions of galaxies. But it seems there are at least two trillion galaxies out there - ten times greater than astronomers' previous estimates."

After reading this mind-blowing discovery, students showed in standard form how to write two trillion- so many zeroes! This led to a great opportunity to show scientific notation in action which illustrated a more efficient way of representing these huge quantities. From this discussion, students also used the information to scale down the quantities to previous understandings (we thought it contained 10 times less galaxies), as well as starting to extend their mathematical thinking about reciprocals (we can reduce it by a tenth by multiplying by 1/10!). In addition, students took a moment to discuss if quadrillion was a true quantity, evaluated their sources used to research about this using the CRAAP system, and asked each other to provide evidence for thought.

Inquiring about Science and Math- our IB curriculum in action!