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This is an activity based on the picture book Belonging

Achievement Objectives
GM3-1: Use linear scales and whole numbers of metric units for length, area, volume and capacity, weight (mass), angle, temperature, and time.
Specific Learning Outcomes
  • Students will be able to illustrate units of time using number lines and accurate linear scales.
  • Students will be able to use units of time to calculate the duration of events and make comparative statements.
Description of Mathematics

The units for measuring time can be visualised using numberlines in which the linear scale is used to illustrate the passage of time.

Units of time can be converted to other units using the multiplicative relationship between the two.

Required Resource Materials
  • Belonging by Jeannie Baker
  • strips of paper
  • metre rulers
  • tape

Life Span Timeline
This activity is based on the picture book: Belonging

Author: Jeannie Baker
Illustrator: Jeannie Baker
Publisher: Walker (2004)
ISBN: 0-7445-9227-5

This is an almost wordless book of scenes from a girl’s bedroom window over the course of 24 years. Each double page spread depicts the changes to the community outside the window and changes in the young girl’s life. There are clues about her age and the milestones she reaches as a young person. But, there is also a strong environmental message about the community and the need to nurture and care for our environment.

Lesson Sequence:

  1. Prior to reading, warm up with some of the vocabulary associated with time and the units. Ask the class to create a series of units from the smallest to the largest they know.
    Are there any gaps that need to be researched later? (such as 1million years or 1 thousandth of a second?)
    What is the average life span in years of NZers?
    If we measured it in weeks or months what would we have to multiply by?
    What animals would have life spans measured in units other than years?
    What do we mean that 1 dog year is equivalent to 7 human years?
  2. Share the book with your students. As you share each page, discuss the passage of time since the previous page and note changes that have occurred in the main character and in her environment.
    Which kinds of things can change dramatically in 2 years? Which kinds of things seem to change more slowly? 
    Keep track of how much time passes from the beginning of the book to the end (don’t miss the illustrations on the dedication page and on the page after the author’s notes!)
  3. Discuss how a timeline could be used to represent the time span of the events. Ask students to construct a timeline scale to represent the time that passes in the story. They will need to make the line long enough to have space to record key events. There will be some variance in the timelines depending on how they decide to construct their scales (1 cm = 1 year or 10 cm= 1year or 1cm = 1 month etc). On a strip of paper make the timeline and mark the year units and record some of the key events from the story.
  4. Now using the same scale create a century timeline from strips of paper the same width. Mark the decades. Line the story timeline up beside the century timeline and create fractional statements about the two lines.
    For example: The story covers about 25 years, which is ¼ a century long. If the main character lived to 75 this would represent 1/3 of her life so far. A person is a child for about 18/76 of their life- that is less than ¼ of their life.
  5. Measure the length of the century timeline.
    How long would a millennium timeline be using that scale? 
    Mark this out on a netball court or in a corridor.
    How far we would have to go to create a time line from 1AD to present day?
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Level Three