Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Line symetry, rotational symmetry and works of art

Works of art

Symmetry, rotational and line
Symmetry is one of the easiest topics to teach. The idea of line symmetry is probably innate and is cultivated from an early age. What parent does not have proudly displayed their 4 or 5 year old's first attempt at combing art and maths; paint splashed on a piece of paper and folded over to produce a glorious symmetrical design. How many homes throughout the world have these masterpieces attached to fridges or other suitable surfaces?

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Scale drawing and estate agents details

The perfect lesson (how to teach scale drawing)

scale drawing
As a young teacher I thought I had delivered the perfect lesson on scale drawing. I set the appropriate exercise and expected the pupils to enthusiastically tackle the tasks, applying their new found knowledge. What could go wrong? The folly of youth. Immediately a hand went up asking for help. 'What's the problem?' I enquired. 'You can't do this one' said the indignant pupil. The question involved working out the actual length a real car given the length of a toy car and the scale to which it was built. 'Why not?' I asked rather bemused. 'They haven't even told you what make of car it is. how can you possibly do it?' So much for the perfect lesson.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Estimation. School walls - don't tell Pink Floyd!

Estimation. How many bricks?

 Pink Floyd

This is  really simple lesson on estimation that makes the topic REAL!

It is easy to do and works, plus it allows you to escape the confines of the classroom.

I guess we have all heard the song 'The wall' by Pink Floyd. I enjoyed listening to it but was never quite sure about the lyrics. 

At this time of year I think most teachers would prefer to listen to Alice Cooper, you know the song 'Schools Out'. Just to remind you about Pink Floyd’s lyric

'We don't need no education
We don't need no thought control
All in all it’s just another brick in the wall'

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Negative into positive with a paper aeroplane

Inferior models

Irritated by paper aeroplanes being thrown in your classroom? It happens to all of us during out teaching career at one time or another, some ‘character’, usually a boy, has learnt how to make a paper aeroplane and uses your class to demonstrate his new found skill. I am always amazed at the poor level of construction of these missiles; they are usually just successive folds along a central axis, a demonstration of symmetry. My dad taught me a far more intricate and aesthetically pleasing method but I’m not sure if it flew as far as the, in my opinion, inferior models.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

What is a decimal?

A difficult question

Fractions to decimals
What is a decimal? Can you answer in one sentence? If there was a pause for thought good, because it is a really difficult question to answer, we are so used to decimals we forget what they are. If you did struggle imagine pupils’ confusion when you start to talk about decimal fractions or changing fractions into decimals.

We have all at one time or another thought ‘decimals should be easy to understand’. After all no matter where we are in the world money is based upon the decimal system, which child has not experienced that? Yet if you ask a student what is the value of 7 in 0.12379 the answers given will probably be not what you want.