Get out with a camera and find as many examples of symmetry as possible. Then come back and classify them into how many lines of symmetry.
The quest can have points based on the number of lines of symmetry found. There are some really good sorting apps for phones see the whole thing on
Juliet Robertson blog
These are a great way of collecting data in a range of situations form activity to meditation. The cheaper watch ones tend to be unreliable and it is best to go for the full strap heart rate monitors.
Approx £40 on ebay
There are a lot of ways of doing Maths outside the classroom. However the main problem is getting out of the classroom. There are no prizes for having a class full of kids running round outside – other than a group of kids highly motivated!
This outdoor Maths game kit is excellent for providing 30 minute slots for outside games.
It costs £89.99 from Handson and is worth considering for any school.
There are a number of different robots available for maths at the Primary level. They teach sequential logic, counting and turning. The resources can be extended further by imaginative use of mats to include time based problems.
The two systems I like are Bebot and Bigtrack. The big track has a great expansion capacity and both retail at £29.99
As we develop further in primary into Y5 & y6; LEGOs WEDO can play a major part in the educational system. This is a full graphical programming language connected to LEGO machines which move and chomp. It enhance logical thinking and questions of percentage increase can be explored with output motors and cranes. The extent of maths which can be derived form these systems is very dependent on the teachers imagination. This is part of a major project under LEGO maths.
I believe even high functioning kids forget their number bonds. Using this simple way of getting students to comeback to counting and segmenting ensures that their mathematical brains develop correctly.
These have been with us for a great deal of time. However a revisit of this tried and tested resource is overdue.
The cube sets be used to explore the following problems really well:
Primary: number bonds, counting, area squares and rectangles, basic volume
Secondary: plan, side and elevation drawing, cube and square numbers, volume and surface areas of cuboids.
- Geo Strips can be a great way of making basic geometric shapes and discovering symmetry or the younger years
2. Knex for students of an older age
The knex system is ideally suited for geometry and angles. It allows for architectural construction and has an active user group involve in maths.
From about £4
Thermometer work can be a really interesting way of discovering the school grounds and rooms. Taking measurements through out the school can lead to the development of heat maps. Other questions which it can raise are:
Where is the most heat being used?
Where would be the warmest place outside for a small animal?
Can we measure heat loss by a thermometer?
Which rooms are above the average? Get the kids to issue energy warnings?
Measuring temperature in and out of the sun?
Does a box made of white or black paper raise the temperature more?
Whilst this does overlap with the energy part of the Science curriculum it does make for an engaging explorations which allows the student use maths to discover things about their world.
I have used these little strips for measuring temperature after exercise of after being outside. You can get the students to hold their breath and for short periods to see if they an raise the temperature. Once again results can be processed in the normal way.
Another alternative is to create a heat map of the students in the room. This leads onto a discussion of heat maps in general.
Measuring and thinking mathematically about a problem is crucial part of Maths education. However often we do not collect enough real interesting data to capture the students imagination. The following basic tools can be used to gain data which will motivate students:
1. Stop Watches
These can be used for a whole load of time based activities some of the ones which I find are useful are:
a) How quickly can you sort objects based on criteria
b) What is the length of time you can hold your breath
c) How long can you hold up a textbook with your arm outstretched
d) How quickly can a group form a hexagon using rods
e) Counting breaths in a minute before and after exercise. Then teach meditation breath control and see if the students can reach 3 breaths a minute. Have students work in pairs for this exercise.
f) Races involving balancing something ( like a book on your head) can give good data and be a fairly even activity for the class.
I think I could go on forever on this one, however what I have learnt is that data based on themseleves is much more gripping. Obviously in all the above cases the data is collected and processed to create graphs, averages, range etc…. The only thing I find does not work is straight racing as this just favours the few who are very fast.