This large Meccano was produced by me at Springfields school. It spawned a whole plethora of different teaching ideas. Here are a selection:
1. Shape Investigation
2. Angle Games
3.Builing and Costing a Rescue Shelter
4. Investigating Maths in Bridge Building Challenge
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.
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.
1. Show and build
Aspects of times tables encourage the students to add in blocks of 8 and look for patterns
2. Partner Work as a system of testing
This is 3d version of times table testing done in pairs. However the twist interests students:
3. Times Table Model Partner Qiz.
Make a model of the times tables which muddle the order and force the student to explore to find the answer can encourage retention. The partner then asks questions and the student has to explore the model to find answers.
4. Explore and Build
Pose problems with in the times table youa re studying that the student have to build. Can you build a square out of 4×8? The puzzles can be open or closed.
This is a review of the potential of using lego to build a maths curriculum:
1. The use of simple blocks and models to create primary lessons
There is a huge room for use of Lego in the primary curriculum. It needs structuring a nd codifying but I think it could be a real hit. Here are some key examples.
- Lego fractions
- Lego ratios
- volume and area calculations of cuboids
- multiplication tables built as quickly as possible
2. The development of models to explore maths concepts
3. The use of robotics to enhance maths and learning