Math with Antlers In addition to conservation, the Boone and Crockett Club (2015) created methods of scoring deer and other wildlife to help regulate the sport of hunting, and the scoring methods for whitetail deer are used in this activity. Figure 1 shows diagrams found at the top of the whitetail scoring sheet and are used by hunters and the students in this activity to determine parts of the antlers that should be measured. The measurements included are length measurements for each point on the antler, length and circumference of the antler beams, and the distance the antlers are spread apart. The instructor in this course reviews the scoring methods of the Boone and Crockett Club's scoring sheet, but the learning takes place when students are engaged in collecting their data through measurement. Figure 1: The Boone and Crockett Club (2015) diagrams help hunters identify antler measurements. Math with Antlers Activity This real-world activity involves the measuring and scoring of deer antlers. Before I first implemented this activity, I had a long discussion with my principal about this activity and the sensitive topic of hunting. I did not want to conduct this activity with my students in a way that would make them uncomfortable, so I sought guidance from my administration. The principal and I both agreed that hunting was a large part of the culture in our rural region of East Texas, and the activity I proposed would be acceptable for my students. Many freezers in my rural town are filled with various cuts of meat from hunting deer and other game. Furthermore, there are families that cannot afford the meat found in grocery stores. We, as the authors, want the readers to understand that hunting is a large part of the culture in this part of the country, and using an activity that connects this cultural practice to the mathematics students learn can be a valuable method of engaging learners. There are several ways teachers can engage students in real-world activities, and I worked with my principal to use deer antlers as one real-world application. 26 | Fall/Winter 2020 Acclimation with the Antlers My principal and I decided I should only use sets of antlers and not mounted deer heads. We thought the life-like mounted heads may make some students uncomfortable. I urge any teacher wanting to replicate this activity to have an open and honest conversation with their principal and students before implementation. On the first day of the activity, I introduced my students to the deer antlers and asked students to choose a set to use and give me an estimated number of what they feel the antlers score. I have taught this lesson to sixth, seventh, and eighth graders, and their responses vary. The students who have hunted most of their lives usually have more informed responses related to their experiences than the students who have never hunted. I then guide the discussion so students realize a type of scoring system is required in order to determine how a deer ranks among other deer. This discussion results in my introduction of the Boone and Crockett Club's (2015) scoring sheet and the measurement locations illustrated in Figure 1. Scoring a set of antlers requires an ability to use a measuring tape, record fractional measurements, add and subtract fractions and mixed numbers, and add and subtract fractions and integers. I discovered that many students and adults do not know how to properly use a ruler or tape measure. I also found that fractions scared my students. As my students began scoring deer antlers, their fear of fractions decreased as their measurement skills increased. Measuring and Counting I have several sets of antlers and bring them to class so each student or small group has their own set of antlers to measure. I ask them to start measuring anything on their antlers that they desire. When I ask students what the marks on a tape measure stand for, very few are correct the first time. Many of my students have limited experience using a measuring tape, so I spend time helping students learn to measure a half inch, a sixteenth of an inch, an eighth of an inch, and a quarter of an inch using the marks on the measuring tape. Teachers must take time to work with students to be sure they know how to measure before calculating the score. I provide time for each student to practice measuring their antlers before moving on to other objectives in this activity. Scoring a deer antler requires students to measure distances related to the burrs, beams, and points of each side of the antler (see Figure 1) and be precise with their measurements. I allow free exploration with the antlers and measuring tape to help diagnose where students might be in their measuring ability. I encourage students to be creative and measure whatever they choose. Some students even measure the board where the antlers are mounted. As they do, they write down what they measured and the length. As the students are working, I circulate around the room to check their progress or have the students check each other's work. Texas Mathematics Teacher

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