The aim of this lesson is to make students' aware that there are clear relationships between the metric units; knowing these relationships is interesting as well as useful (Department of Education and the Arts, 2006). It aims to help students' construct their own knowledge (Hersch, 1997) by building on what they already know (1 cm3) and linking it with stronger or more numerous ideas thereby enriching their network of ideas (Hiebert & Carpenter, 1992: Klamkin, 1968). This lesson aims to achieve this extension of knowledge by providing physical activities that will enable students to understand the link through the decimal system. The aims are consistent with Bruner's (1966) spiral curriculum as this lesson aspires to develop understanding of the fundamental structure of the metric system, the 'big idea', which would be revisited in more and more depth over time.
Inquiry and problem-based learning is central to the constructivist view of learning as it assists in students' developing ownership of their learning (Woolfolk & Margetts, 2007).
With this central concept the lesson would start by probing students' for a discussion on what they know (activate prior knowledge), discussion of what they need to find out (clear expectations), deciding upon the method and making predictions of what might occur (Woolfolk & Margetts, 2007: Van de Walle, 2007). The aim is to encourage the students' to pose a problem and solve it (Godinho & Wilson, 2004; as cited in Woolfolk & Margetts, 2007: Van de Walle, 2007) as students' learning is magnified if they develop their own questions (Foos, Mora & Tkacz, 1994; as cited in William, 2005).
Students would be encouraged to estimate. Through the act of estimation children are making a number of decisions including selecting an appropriate unit of measurement and estimating the quantity of those units required (Department of...