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I am coming of my final PGCE placement, thank god, and I am at that stage where I am trying all kinds of different things out to see what works. I have a really low ability year 10 group (levels 2-4) and we recently made paper parachutes and chucked them off the main entrance stairs and used the times for calcualting range, mean, median and mode to find the safest parachute.
This really practical lesson was so engaging to the students I am looking for a similar type of activity for a different area of maths. Does anyone have any making things and then looking at the maths type suggestions which they have found to be similarly engaging?
This may be what you're looking for ... links maths and art.
Carrie's website reminded me...
Use straws and pipecleaners to make shapes... (or your school may have "proper" resources for doing some of these - in which case you may just need to ask!)
I cut up straws into different lengths. To make things easier later, I made them colour coded... so red straws are cut into half, green straws into quarters and blue straws into thirds. It would be good if they were known lengths in cm, but I didn't bother with that.(If the straws have a bendy bit at one end, the students will probably pull them to make the straw longer.. you just have to remind them that when the shapes are made, the straw must be the same length as the others of its colour - and without corners! - take care with your wording when explaining this!)
I then cut some pipe cleaners into approx 5cm lengths. (I know it takes a long time to cut the straws and pipe cleaners - especially to make enough for a class but you can use them for lots of things - and re use them in subsequent years and different year groups, which is why you might want to make your own so you can take them with you!).
When you have finished, get the students to bend the pipe cleaners in half and put the ends in different straws to make shapes.
1. give students just red and blue straws.. how many different triangles can they make... do any have special names? now add in the green straws... same question.
2. Using two pairs of straws, eg 2 blue and 2 green how many quadrilaterals can they make? They'll need to draw these to record both rectangle and parallelogram etc...(by holding the shape together and drawing around the inside of the straws). Can they name them? (What shapes can not be made with these straws?).
3. Give them a choice of all the colours of straw and get them to make as many different trapezia as possible.
4. Could look at similarity... 2 reds and a green looks quite like 2greens and a blue, but they are not similar (probably need them to do accurate construction to demonstrate that) Whereas 3 blues or 3 greens or 3 reds are all similar.
5. Tesselation... Using only one length of straw, how many different patterns of shapes can you find to cover a flat surface. (I haven't tried this one)
6. Make 3d shapes -at first keep them to one length of straw for this. (you need to be able to put more than one pipe cleaner in a straw)...can they make a cube? a square based pyramid? a tetrahedron? can they make more complex shapes? or make them then name them... (get different groups to make different shapes?). Let some of them make different random 3D shapes... Count the numbers of corners, faces,edges (straws)... test out Eulers theorem - or see if they can spot it?
I hope some of these ideas help!
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