Thursday, April 27, 2017

Justice and Balance

Today, we learned about pan-balance problems in Math. These are problems that should "weigh the same" on both sides (hence the "=" sign), and will be getting the kids ready for the giant spooky world of algebra.

We took equal-sized Legos and put them on each side of a scale. It balanced out, but then when we took one out, it was off-balance. Whatever you do to one side, you have to do the same thing on the other side--it's the only way to keep everything balanced. 

We talked about the merchants in the marketplace who would weigh cheeses to see how much to charge. I talked about how this led to the word for a balance in Latin (I said Greek earlier...I will have to correct myself), which is libra. That should also sound familiar to all of you amateur astrologists out there. And this is what led to the use of lb. to stand for the word pound. Think also about words like liberty; the British symbol for pound, which is a capital L in cursive with a line through it (£); the Italian lira; and a whole bunch of stuff that has to do with weight, currency, and equality.

As I told the kids this morning, it's like we were having a Caesar's English lesson mixed with history and math--the ultimate teacher geek-out.

I made them promise that, when their parents were helping them tonight, to be cooperative and let you help as best you in their own way! I am also sending home the parent letter with the answers, so that should hopefully help.

Lastly, the kids did end up drawing pictures based on their friends' explanations yesterday. Let's just say that some turned out to be more accurate than others. It was a fun lesson nonetheless.

More later, I'm sure.

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