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.
I think in terms of introducing angles compass work is a great route.
Games can be created round compasses where 3 students stand at the centre and the whole class has to stand at different positions. Every time the students guess an angle that is right the whole class can move. The person whose position is guessed joins the centre.
Children working in pairs can follow trails round the school solving problems and collecting clues. The trails can be coordinates and a number of meters. The game can intially be developed around NESW, but as the class develops NNE can be used. Finally the compass directions are changed to degrees.
I think that card play works best when the information is presented in different formats i.e. The fraction drawing and the fraction number. Working between formats increase the understanding of the concept
Should every playground have a clock face?