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Fifth Grade Math Lately

March 10, 2020 | Melissa McCallihan

Fifth grade math students have been thinking about what happens to the area and perimeter of a shape as you grow the shape. Using tiles, students added rows to columns to change the size of the shape. Then they wondered what would happen if the shape had a 100 rows. From manipulating the shape, they discovered an equation that would work for any number of rows. 

Then students began their work on coordinate graphing. Students gained math vocabulary including ordered pairs, x-axis and y-axis. Students created graphs from charts they generated based on a number of factors given to them. Students made connections from their study of coordinate graphing to the game Battleship. A culminating project is for students to create an improved version of battleship for their peers to play.

Students play paper Battleship to research how to make it bigger and better!

Melissa McCallihan

Teaching children to take risks and fail well is important to Melissa McCallihan, who has taught for over 29 years. She believes children learn as much through their failures as they do through their successes. She celebrates both in her fourth and fifth grade classroom. In collaboration with the middle school director, art teacher, and other fourth and fifth grade teachers, Mrs. McCallihan has been instrumental in developing the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) program, an extension of the Lower School’s Shared Space model. “STEAM is where students solve problems and sometimes get it wrong,” says Mrs. McCallihan when asked about risks and failing well. “Students need to learn how to do that with grace, and to try again with grit and determination.”

Mrs. McCallihan cares deeply about relationships with her colleagues, students, and families. She works hard to make and maintain connections on a personal and professional level. And follows the mantra “Worship God, Love All.”

When not at school, you can find Mrs. McCallihan searching out a fantastic restaurant or hidden sight to see in New York City.

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