# teaching ideas upper primary

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```					Australian Government Crest

National Literacy and Numeracy Week logo

Reach for the Stars logo

Upper Primary Teaching Ideas
Room to Learn: Telling the Story of Australia’s Classrooms
You and your class can choose which questions you want to answer for the national data collection.
Choose as many or as few as you find relevant and interesting.

The theme of Reach for the Stars in 2011 is „Room to Learn: Telling the Story of Australia‟s Classrooms‟.

Discuss the national activity - this could be led by a group of students who have had the opportunity to
explore the website and/or associated documents.

•   Identify the different spaces (the locker area, spaces for reading, spaces for storing mathematics
equipment, discussion areas, places for display etc.) and estimate their areas/proportions when
compared to the whole.
•   What does perimeter mean?
•   What can you see from your classroom?

Discuss measurement
•   What can be measured in your classroom? How high is the ceiling? How wide is the classroom?
How long? How much floor space is in it?
•   What will you use as your measuring instrument(s)?
•   Talk about formal and informal tools and units to measure the perimeter of your classroom.

Discuss data collection
•   Talk about ways to record and represent data (e.g. tally marks, in a table, graphing etc).

Ask the students to make some estimates before doing the core activity.

Collecting and recording the data
Check with your Reach for the Stars coordinator about the format for reporting the results. There are
class data record sheets available to download from the Core Activity page on the website.

Practicalities
Q5 - How many students (an arm’s width apart) fit around the inside edge (perimeter) of your
classroom?

What do your students understand as the perimeter of the classroom? What will they do about the „ins
and outs‟?

Start at an easily identified place (e.g., the door jamb). The first student should stand with his or her back
to the wall with the left side of the body lined up with the starting point. This student then extends his or
her right arm out horizontally against the wall. The next student then takes up the position so that the
extended arm is resting on his or her left shoulder. This continues until the students are standing around
the designated edge one arm‟s width apart (i.e., right arm out horizontally to the side touching the left
shoulder of the next student).
It may be necessary for students to line up more than once.

Discuss what to do about „going around corners‟ when using people as the measurement unit. What will
you do if the last student overlaps the first?

Q6 - What is the perimeter of your classroom to the nearest metre?

What will be used to measure your classroom? Several groups could do the measurements then compare
the results. Which result should be used? Maybe the average?

The concept of rounding is also introduced here.

Q7 - How many students could stand on the classroom floor if the space was clear?

Encourage students to brainstorm several strategies. It would be very interesting to compare the results
from the various methods and then discuss which is likely to be the most accurate. You will judge which
method(s) you actually use.

Students could model the area of a student onto pieces of paper and lay them out over the room.

Students could try to „pack‟ students into a known area and count them, then find how many lots there
are.

The students could use a simple area of student into area of classroom method. How will the area of a
student be established? What assumptions are being made? Are these assumptions realistic?

Q8 - What is the area of your classroom to the nearest square metre?

The classroom could be approximated to a square or rectangle for a simple calculation. Students may like
to investigate the use of compound shapes to find the area more accurately.

Q9 - How many years old is your classroom?

Students might make a guess. How could the guesses be checked? Who would know?

Q10 - What is the main view from your classroom?

The class may wish to discuss what „main‟ means and how many possible views there are from the
classroom.

There is a choice of nine broad options; try to fit the answer into one of these options before selecting
„other‟. The concept of classification can be explored here.

As a single answer only is required, the students could discuss how to reach agreement (e.g. vote - but
what happens if there is not a clear winner?).

This may be one major feature expressed in a sentence, or several phrases about key aspects, or a
collection of individual words. The specialness does not have to relate to the physical environment only. It
may be that the classroom is special because of the people or the learning that takes place there. Or

There is a 20 word limit. Work out how the class will decide on the words/phrases/ sentences. Random
draw? Vote?

Other ideas
Expanding on the key ideas
Students could investigate different perimeters around the school such as the playground, the oval and
other classrooms. They could estimate the perimeters of circular and irregular shapes before measuring
in their chosen unit.

Students may like to explore the possibilities of using different “people” measurements such as standing
shoulder to shoulder, using splayed hands, paces etc. If not discussed before, the need for standard,
formal measures could be investigated.

The concept of time could be developed further. Are all the classrooms in the school the same age?
Create a timeline and plot the different ages of the classrooms and other buildings in the school. Students
could place their ages on the timeline (and maybe your age, too!).

What proportion of the floor is taken up with furniture? How much of the room is allocated for storage?
These could be expressed as percentages or fractions or decimals. The students could graph this
information on a pie graph.

Sharing with others
Perhaps a person from the local community to our school (an ex-student or teacher) could be invited to
talk about their experiences at school. Students could plan specific questions related to the core
investigation.

In some schools it is possible to work with a younger or older class to work together in collecting and
recording their data for the project. In previous years, many teachers have found Reach for the Stars a
great opportunity to engage students in leadership and mentoring roles with younger learners undertaking
the same activity.

Take photographs of your classroom to share with others in your school, or share them with Australia via
the gallery on the National Literacy and Numeracy Week website. Perhaps a collage or a drawing of the
special things about your classroom could be made. You could consider a foyer display, a presentation at
assembly or an item in the school newsletter.

Investigating the national data
Once the data from hundred of classrooms has been collected and analysed it will be made available on
the website. This will give you the opportunity to follow up on the core activity.

How many people were involved? How can you get a sense of the size of this number? What can you
compare this number to?

What similarities are there between your class and/ or school data and the national data summary? What
are the differences?

Check the estimates the class made. How close were the estimates?

What are some of the limitations of the data that was collected and reported? How reliable are your
conclusions?

www.literacyandnumeracy.gov.au

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