Just How Tall Is 24 Feet?
Just How Tall Is 24 Feet?

Second graders in teacher Monique Rosen and associate teacher Patricia Mazuera's class at Fieldston Lower are reading The BFG, a classic children's book by the British novelist Roald Dahl.

The book's main character, the BFG (short for "Big Friendly Giant"), is 24 feet tall. To get a better sense of how tall that is, students carefully traced associate teacher Daniel Mieszczanski—who is six feet in height—on butcher paper, under the careful watch of Rosen and Mazuera. Over the next couple of weeks, they colored in his outline, "doing an especially beautiful job on the checkered shirt," noted Rosen.

A related lesson involved having the students lie down end-to-end in the hallway outside their classroom, alongside yardsticks, until they collectively made up a 24-foot "giant," and then a 54-foot one (that's the height of the Fleshlumpeater, the antagonist in The BFG). Students also discussed how many six-foot people it would take to make a 24-foot giant, a 54-foot one, and so forth. The culminating project in conjunction with their reading of The BFG involved rendering the BFG on butcher paper; see photo at the top of the page.

"This unit of study is an interdisciplinary one," said Rosen. "The measuring of the 24-foot giant kicks off our math unit on measurement, and the creation and rendering of the BFG is artistic while also deepening students' understanding of literature. It's learning by doing and having fun in the process!"

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