How Many Peas Fill the Classroom?
Part of the series Great Secondary Lesson Ideas
 Duration: 5 mins
 No Subtitles
 Published: 06 October 2010
 Licence information for How Many Peas Fill the Classroom?
Summary
This fun and active maths lesson for Key Stage 3 students involves measuring, estimating and calculating, and contains a great lesson idea for use in lesson planning.
Maths teacher Katie Slusar asks her Year 7 class at Comberton Village College to work out how many chickpeas might fit into their classroom.
During this exercise in mathematical modelling, the pupils plan how to approach the task and choose the equipment they need.
They start measuring and calculating, and make appropriate estimates and assumptions as they go, involving large and small numbers and different units of measurement.
Although the answers her pupils get are unlikely to be accurate, this is a fun and effective lesson idea that tackles some tricky mathematical concepts.
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Comments (2)
I think this is a great lesson idea, particularly the way it shows how messy and fun a real mathematical investigation can be. It's far more stimulating for pupils to work out how to tackle a broad problem like this rather having to come up with a 'right answer'. I'm sure the teacher would revisit this topic in a later lesson to get her pupils to question their assumptions a bit more closely. In fact, I see there's something in her accompanying lesson plan about this.
So glad it was stated at the end that the final answer didn't matter  although you then have to ask why? Surely it would have been much better to have filled a cuboidal container with the peas, count them and then calculate how many of these containers would fit into the classroom? No consideration has been given to the fact that the peas wouldn't sit uniformly on top of each other so not realistic at all. Please, please, please  it's not centimetres cubed but cubic centimetres