Monday, March 11, 2013

Megalodon: How Big Was It? Investigation Applying Proportionate Reasoning

I have recently been thinking about how to motivate my students to want to do the work that Common Core is requiring them to do. Then it hit me, the problems they are working on must be things that interest them. I decided to take a crack at writing something that  think would interest me. I have always been facinated by ancient creatures, the more menacing (as long as I know they are extinct) the more fascinated I was. YES, I was a big fan of Jurassic Park.

While thinking about how to apply this to 6th Grade Math, I came across this interesting video clip on You Tube from Animal Planet's "The Most Extreme: Ancient Ancestors" and I thought it would be a perfect application to the Ratio and Proportions Unit since the Megalodon was juts a much larger version of today's Great White shark.

One of my students actually brought in a REAL Megalodon tooth.
The other students (and also myself) were amazed to be able to see and touch
this rare fossil that is normally only seen behind glass.
From this video, I got the idea to create the following investigation.

Basically, the students are asked to look at a drawing of a Great White shark and based upon an information card about the actual Great White the drawing was in proportion to, determine the scale. Then the students have to create their own drawing of a Megalodon also to the same scale to get an idea of just how much bigger this shark was thought to be compared to the Great White.
This investigation was very fun and was easily applied to the 6th Grade Ratio and Proportions Unit. Please look at the sample portfolio below. If this unit looks like something you might want to use in your class, please visit to download the full investigation with all templates and supplementary materials. Also please check back here for more ideas for the Common Core.

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