Monday, 22 September 2014

Maths in Year 6 Exhibition 2014

Last week our Year 6 classes did their PYP Exhibition. It was amazing. Such a great opportunity for the kids to celebrate their journey through the PYP.

I am always keen to see how they will use mathematics. They never disappoint me with the creative ways they look at things.

So here are a few precious examples from last week.

The first thing I noticed was some clever use of infographics. The kids had been shown the Piktochart website and ran with it. Here are a few nice examples:

This group used an infographic to present results from a survey they did to find information about technology use and addiction.

 This group used their infographic to present information they found in their research

Other groups used "live" surveys to ask visitors to answer a question. They found some great ways to present their results that they built up over the Exhibition period.

This group was asking a big question about racism in sport...

 ...and they got respondents to place a pin with a football into the pitch to show their answer.

 The question of what to do with refugees - voting by marbles.

 I really liked this one. You got to put your vote in the balance scale and each ping pong ball had a positive message written on it.

This was a fund way to vote - and the kids loved it.

This called for a tough decision - which is a more significant problem: child soldiers or post traumatic stress disorder in returned service personnel?

The votes were cut into leaf shapes to represent a "tree of hope".
So once again I was very impressed. I hope you enjoyed seeing what the kids came up with.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

This Week in Fractions

This week we planned to do "Fractions".

I know - stand alone content taught out of context.

So I shook it up a bit and made a website full of lots of fun activities.

Here it is. Hope you enjoy looking at it.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Finding Area Using Arrays

I was working with Year 2 the other day. They were keen to do some work with arrays to look at multiplication. I was keen to make it a bit of fun.

So, I thought, lets put the array thing together with some shapes that we need to find the area of.

I constructed the following set of shape outlines:

Then I asked the kids to find the biggest one and the smallest one. Fortunately I had made the sides of all the shapes whole centimetres, suggesting to the kids that they could use Base 10 blocks to work out the area of each shape.

(Just to be tricky, I made the task a bit ambiguous - there are several shapes that all have the same area - some are big and some are small. I wanted to see what conversation would come out of that.)

And here's what they did:

So we can put the Base 10 blocks onto the shapes to find how many cover it.

This one looks really big - it's soooo long!

Might need to use some units and well as tens.

Hmm, several of these are 24 square cms.
But why are they hanging over edge of the shape? asks the teacher.
Well, there's 2 hanging over so it must be 8 long (10 - 2 = 8) so 3 x 8 = 24! says the student.

And same again! 10 - 4 = 6. 
So 4 x 6 = 24.

Smart kids! It's easier (less fiddly) to use the 10 blocks than getting all the units blocks out.

And yes, they were doing multiplication and arrays and area all in one go.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Making Tetrahedra

I was at the Canberra Maths Association conference a few weeks ago and saw this really simple idea from Maria Quigley from the University of Sydney.

When making models of 3D objects, Maria used those really jumbo sized plastic straws you get at some "bubble tea" outlets. They are useful because you can pass a string through the straw (several times if needed) and tie your shapes together.

So I had a go in my classroom. I bought a few packs of these straws, which are available pretty cheap at some $2 shops. We all sat down and had a go at making a tetrahedron. Here are a few of our results:

Note - collaboration; when we work together we learn so much more. 

They all looked pretty good when I hung them up.

But of course I am an annoying teacher. I wasn't prepared to let it rest at that.

So I started asking some questions.

"What if....?"

"And if we got 2 of them and....?"

"And could you...?"

And suddenly the kids were making some discoveries, like:

"Hey, I can't make this cube stay up."

"Is this a triangular prism?"

"What do you call this shape when you put two tetrahedra together?"

And then they started to construct models of objects I had no idea what to call. 

This is how we learn.