December 17

Mira, Mira on the Wall…

As part of our 2D geometry unit, we’ve been learning about symmetry. We’ve been challenged with determining if various shapes such as a parallelogram, 5-pointed star, square, rectangle, pentagon, have lines of symmetry. If so, how many?

Line symmetry occurs when you can flip or reflect one half of an image onto itself and it fits exactly. We see a lot of symmetry in nature, too! Have a look at these images and see if you can find symmetry within them:

There are different kinds of symmetry, but in grade 3 we look specifically at line symmetry. As students move into older grades, they will look at rotational symmetry, too.

One of the tools we can use to help us check for line symmetry is a Mira. Check out the students below investigating symmetry during independent work.

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December 3

Welcome to December!

As we gear up for Christmas, our days are filled with plenty of learning, discussion, and activity Students talk about their Elf on the Shelf,  what their plans are for Christmas, decorating their tree, and get excited as we being to play Christmas music.

Check out our students in action in various subject areas over the past few weeks.





November 27

Survey Says…

Together with Mrs. Valente’s class, clipboards and pencils poised, we set off to ask each other our survey questions.

Some questions students were asking included:

  • What is your favourite type of flower?
  • How many minutes of exercise do you get in a day?
  • Where in the world would you like to live?
  • What destination would you like to visit during March Break?
  • What is your favourite country?

We will taking a close look at our data and will be graphing our data using both a bar graph and pictograph.

Have a look at the work the students were involved with today…


November 19

What’s a Venn Diagram?

Simply put, a Venn Diagram is a tool to help us sort things. A man named John Venn (a logician) invented them a long time ago.

Have a look below at the diagram.

We made some of our own Venn Diagrams using hula hoops and various objects we found around the class. Can you guess how we sorted the following items in the pictures?

Students were then asked to find additional items to place in the Venn Diagram and this is what it looked like after they added new items found in the classroom. You will notice a few items placed outside the Venn Diagram. That is because they don’t belong in any of the categories within the Diagram.

Students have been working in their teams to sort numbers as well. Have a look at the action. Click on individual pictures to enlarge them:

Recently, Mrs. Sullivan created a Venn Diagram with fiction and nonfiction books. She was having trouble with what kind of book to put in the middle (that would have both fiction and nonfiction qualities). Jacob B offered a fantastic suggestion of putting a book in the middle that has fictional characters BUT is based on a real-life situation. So, he grabbed an I Survived book that is based on the story of the Titanic. Thanks for the great thinking, Jacob B!

What kind of items could you sort into a Venn Diagram?

October 17

Place Value Collage

Place value turned into art in our classroom recently. Students have been hard at work creating interesting collages using different sized circles to represent different place values. The bigger the circle, the bigger the place value.

Students learned about scale and how overlapping creates visual depth. We looked at 2 different works of art (seen below) and compared them. How were they similar? What did we see? Which circles appear in the front? Back? Why did the artist put some circles in front of others?

Students represented numbers in the thousands. They used various types of paper such as sandpaper, foil, newspaper, coloured paper, bumpy paper, smooth paper, paper with print, and several students used buttons to represent the ones or units.

Have a look at the process and the final products!

Can you read the numbers that were created?

September 13

Place Value up to the Thousands

Representing numbers is our main focus at the moment in Math. Mrs. Sullivan is asking us to show numbers in 4 different ways:

  • Draw a picture
  • Write the number in words
  • Expand the number
  • Write it in standard form

We use Base Ten blocks to model numbers. In the pictures below, you can see some of our students playing a game called Race to a Flat.

In Gr.3 we are expected to know up to the THOUSANDS place value but we know that numbers can be much larger, of course. We continue to practice how to read, write, and represent numbers up to this place. It can sometimes be tricky, especially when zeros are involved such as in the number 1045.

At home, students are encouraged to challenge themselves to represent numbers in different ways! Roll a dice 4 times and create a number–expand it, write it in words, draw it.

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June 7

Building, Writing, Rolling

What are we up to you ask? The learning never ends in Room 124. We are building catapults, writing poetry, and rolling dice while we learn about probability.

Below you can see that students are working in partners or trios to design and build a catapult that must launch a marshmallow over a ‘wall’. They’ve put their thinking caps on and are busy gluing, sticking, and testing their designs. Good luck! (Thanks to Mrs. Bernardo for the pictures).

I’ve been blown away by the level of creative thinking by many students in our poetry unit so far. The vocabulary and ‘thinking outside the box’ is outstanding. We will be sure to share with you several of our poems. The students LOVE to share their poems with the class and are eager to keep writing…even into lunch hour! Woah. You can see us below writing a poem in a small group based on a regular, every day object that Mrs. Sullivan gave to us. Some of the objects included scissors, an orange cone, and a clipboard.

We were off to the races today playing a Horse Race game involving rolling a pair of dice and moving our ‘horse’ one space if the dice showed our horse’s number. If we were horse #5, then whenever someone threw a 5, we were allowed to move forward one space. Whomever crossed the finish line first was the winner. Some of us thought our horses were ‘cursed’ or that it was unlucky for some strange reason. Tomorrow we will discuss why certain horses were winning more than others. I have a feeling math has something to do with it!

June 3

Rock, Paper, Scissors

Probability is all around us! On Friday, we discussed the common game Rock, Paper, Scissors and how it is linked with math. What are the chances your partner will throw a ROCK? What are the chances your partner will throw PAPER? What about SCISSORS?

After pairs of students played 20 rounds of the game and recorded each of the outcomes as a fraction, we analyzed the results. What did the results say about our partner?  There was some interesting sharing of information. For example, one student used “Rock” 18/20 times and admitted this was because he thought he had a better chance of winning if he used it.

We looked at the different ways you could win and discovered you actually had an EQUAL CHANCE of winning if you used ANY of the ‘symbols’ in the game. However, if you know your partner typically uses one type of symbol over the others, perhaps your chances of winning increase because you can use that against him or her.

Rock–paper covers it

Paper–scissors cut it

Scissors–rock crushes it


When you play Rock, Paper, Scissors, do you use the symbols randomly or do you typically use one or two symbols more than another?  Does it depend on who you’re playing with?

Parents–if you’re interested, here is an interesting article from the BBC about the psychology behind the game

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May 30

What’s the Chance?

What is probability, anyways? We brainstormed together on Monday and came up with a whole array of vocabulary and ways in which we use probability in our every day lives.

Here are some of our ideas:

  • chance
  • likelihood
  • risk
  • certain/impossible
  • likely/unlikely
  • equal chance (50/50)
  • weather forecast (What’s the chance it will rain today?)
  • gambling/playing the lottery

Can you think of more ideas where we see or use probability in our lives?

Probability is the chance of something happening. We’ve learned about what are events that are certain (100% chance they will happen) and events that are impossible (no chance it will happen) and events that fall in between (likely, unlikely, equal chance).

For instance, what’s the chance you will eat dinner tonight? What’s the chance that you will be in grade 4 next year? What’s the chance it will snow tomorrow? What’s the chance Mrs. Sullivan will come to school tomorrow with blue hair? (hmmm….)

We looked at a number line and shared ideas of where different events would fall on the number line.

We love playing the game of SKUNK because we get to apply the game of chance and have fun at the same time! What? Math can be fun?

Have a look at us working hard today with spinners!

April 11

Measure Me This…Measure Me That

As we wrap up our unit on Measurement, it is interesting to be reminded of the fact that there seems to be only 3 countries in the world that have not adopted the metric system. These include the US, Myanmar, and Liberia.

I think it’s time these countries get on board. What do you think?

I’ve been very impressed with how far we’ve come as a class in terms of our confidence in telling the time (analog). Our grade 4s have been using number lines to also calculate elapsed time. Great job everyone! Perimeter (the distance around an object) and Area (the amount of 2D space occupied by an object) have also been topics we’ve been exploring using square tiles, geoboards, and grid paper. Below, you can see students busy putting their measurement knowledge into practice.

If you play this video to the very end, you increase your chances of never forgetting what perimeter is and how to find it!

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