Crypt-ic Math

Engraving from Nathaniel Chickering's gravestone in Dover, MA.

Engraving from Nathaniel Chickering's gravestone in Dover, MA.

Ravens cawing, leaves crunching, wind howling, students sharing …Where? Dover Cemetery! Close to Halloween, 4th grade students walked to the center of town for their math class. Pencils and math packets in hand, groups of students ran around looking for graves with information they needed to answer the questions. During an interview with Mrs. Atkinson, she explained the  purpose for Cemetery Math. Cemetery Math is a fun way for students to have hands-on practice with math concepts and it ties into the upcoming holiday. She also explained that they have not made any changes, but will make some this year because the engraving, on gravestones, is wearing off with all the weather. 4th grade has been doing this field trip for 25 + years!
Here is an example of one of the questions:

Find Nathaniel Chickering’s grave.
1. When was he born?
2. When did he die?
3. How old was he when he died?

So the next time you walk through Dover Cemetery try to answer this question.

Reported by K.B., Madison A., and Elizabeth E.

Engineers Far and Near


“Wow!” “That’s so cool!” “Can I eat your bridge?” On Thurs. Oct. 29 these were some exclamations heard in Mr. Wadness’ class. Students had brought in their finished science projects. For the past 2 months the students had been learning about engineering concepts such as arches and suspension. The way they learned about these concepts was through the investigation of different styles of bridges. Some of the styles explored were trusses, beams, and drawbridges, such as: the Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco), the Confederation Bridge (Prince Edward Island), and the Tower Bridge (London). The students had to make a bridge, either real or imagined. Some students’ models were their own creations or a replica of a real bridge. Some materials used were candy, wood, glue, wire, cardboard, paint, PVC pipes, aluminum foil, popsicle sticks, graham crackers, and frosting. The projects demonstrated beam, arch, suspension, truss, and drawbridge engineering concepts. Each student presented their bridge and described how they made it, what materials they used, and if it was an imaginary or a real bridge. Three cheers for fourth grade engineers!

Reported by: Caroline C. and Grace D.

CSI Chickering

Sample of items students saw upon entering their "CSI" Lab.

Sample of items students saw upon entering their "CSI" Lab.

Did you know that there was a CSI Investigation going on? The week of September 8th the upstairs lab turned into a CSI lab! The goal of this unit was to learn process skills which are part of the scientific method.  As the students first walked into the lab they were surprised to see a crime lab laid out before them.  The fifth graders saw caution tape surrounding the stations. The students also saw footprints hanging on the white board and fingerprints on the counter. Next to the lip print station, microsopes were used to  investigate hair samples. On the other side of the room, there were teeth impressions near the dusting for fingerprints station. The students were divided into groups and they rotated through the 6 evidence stations.

The students were handed a piece of paper with about ten suspects, who were various teachers that work at Chickering School. The students were brought to the lab and compared evidence from the crime scene to samples from suspects. Each student was asked to write a conclusion for each evidence station based on their observations. Then as a class they compared differences and similarities. Following this discussion, they  had discovered that there was not one conclusive suspect.

There was a buzz in the fifth grade classrooms because the students were surprised that the evidence was inconclusive.


Thank you to Connor C., Madeline S., Luke T., Sean D., and A.J. R.

Here are some student thoughts about the new CSI Unit.


Thank you to Isabelle W., Zoe O., Hayden S., Annie G., and Isobel M.

Since the CSI Unit was new this year, we decided to ask the fifth grade students if we should keep it or not.


Thank you to Lauren B., Jacquelyn P., Hannah L., Sadie H., and Eric F.

Finally, we asked the teachers the purpose for teaching the new CSI Unit.


Thank you to Ms Varley, Mrs. Lowenstein, Ms Yorston, Ms Dionisio, and Mrs. Chiavarini.

reported by:

Virginia D., Dana R., Winnie M., Alex D., and Adam B.