Building an Eco-house


This is a level (2+ to 3+) mathematics in science contexts activity from the Figure It Out series.
A PDF of the student activity is included.

Achievement Objectives
NA2-1: Use simple additive strategies with whole numbers and fractions.
Student Activity

Click on the image to enlarge it. Click again to close. Download PDF (1582 KB)

Specific Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • add and subtract whole numbers.

Students should discover that:

  • to win, the sum of the squares they land on must be greater than or equal to zero.
Required Resource Materials
a dice

3 counters

2 classmates

FIO, Sustainability, Levels 2+-3+, Building an Eco-house, page 21



Points of entry: Mathematics

As students play, ask them to think metacognitively (think about their thinking). Ask: What strategies are you using to add or subtract after each square? Which numbers are easier to add or subtract?

Check that your students know what to do if they end up in the negative numbers. For example, ask: What would happen if you had no points and you landed on square 28? They do not need a formal knowledge of integers (which are introduced in level 4); all they need is a way of keeping a tally of what they “owe” if they lose all their “credit”.

Remind students about fair dice rolls. They should all have an equal probability of landing on any square.

Points of entry: Science

Ask students why some squares are positive (gain points) and others are negative (lose points). Ask them to judge whether the “punishment fi ts the crime”. In other words, Are the points values a good measure of the environmental impact? Another way of putting this is: Why might buying iron for a roof be worse than buying straw for insulation? Why does buying straw for insulation lose points? [It still costs money to buy.] Why does draining a swampy area lose points? [It can destroy the wetland environment that wildlife depends on.] Why does planting native tree seedlings collect lots of points?

Students can identify which penalties seem the fairest and justify them. For example, Should putting compost on a garden be worth fewer points than giving a talk on eco-houses?


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