This post is from Ricky Pedersen, HOF at De La Salle College in Auckland
Ricky shared his story on the literacy forum this week. It would be great to get more maths teachers sharing what they are doing in their classrooms on the literacy forum.
What have you tried recently? If it has a literacy focus join the forum or simply email me and i can share here.
------------------------------------------------------------------------With junior exams on the horizon, Ricky decided it was time to do something different with his geometry revision programme.
Students were given 8 tasks to complete and the instructions he provided were that they should select a minimum of 3:
- Create a brochure about different angles and triangles – made in the shape of an isosceles triangle
- Create flash cards on shapes, angles and lines that we have covered
- Create a “go fish” game with definitions, diagrams and names
- Design a geometry tshirt which incorporated angles, lines, circles, polygons and 3D shapes
- Design a flow chart to help someone classify different types of quadrilaterals
- Create a poster with 15 different pattern activities which needed to be solved
- Write a poem/rap about parallel lines/circle geometry/angles in polygons which they could also record if they liked
- Design a fake facebook profile of a famous Geometer such as Euclid, Pythagoras or Archimedes http://www.classtools.net/FB/home-page
He let the students decide their own level of engagement. It was interesting to see what students decided was “sufficient” by the due date.
Approximately half the class handed in 3 tasks, a small group of high achieving students handed in all 8 tasks.
What he enjoyed seeing most was students who were not the most engaged in class producing some fantastic work. Given a range of tasks with a little bit of freedom, they were able to select what they found to fit their own strengths.
So….was it useful or was it just a bit of fun?
As students handed in work throughout the week, he was able to use the flash cards & go fish resources with them quickly – they thought he was checking their resources but really he was seeing whether they had learned anything! Nearly every student he tested with flash cards was able to identify the correct geometric property on the first attempt.
Over half the class produced a Fakebook profile on a famous Geometer – He could tell that students had gone out and read about a Mathematician because they tried creating posts in the first person, writing about what they might have been up to, researching who their friends were and so forth. This isn’t in the curriculum necessarily but any chance we can get a student to go away and read is always a bonus!
The brochures and flowcharts showed evidence that students must have had to sift through their notes and beyond.
Writing a set of instructions for another person to make decisions and using correct vocabulary were all apparent through the student work that was handed in.
The rap and poems were not very popular but the students that did produce these came up with some creative writing. Ricky particularly liked this one
Rap about Geometry
I’m here to talk to you about Geometry
It aint easy, it aint simple, it aint 1, 2, 3
There’s a lot of stuff that goes shapes,
Angles and more. From diameters to
Radius, I’m sure you won’t bore.
The line that cuts a parallel is called
Transversal. I know cause I saw it on
a commercial. I even saw John Key
during a controversial, it also went
There are different types of triangle
Isosceles, Obtuse don’t forget right-
angled. According to the Pythagoras
of Samos. A squared + B squared =
On Tuesday, we learnt how to use
Trigonometry. I know it’s pretty big
In Geometry. Even Mr Pedersen,
Would have to agree. Time to sit back
And have a cup of tea.
That’s all I know about Geometry. Just
Remember it aint simple, it aint easy,
it aint 1, 2, 3.
After collecting in the homework task and having conversations with several students, it was obvious
- They felt more confident with geometric reasoning
- They were much more comfortable with the topic vocabulary and
- They enjoyed completing it!
An added bonus is, there are now sets of flash cards and go fish for students to use and student work to display in the classroom.
Ricky was also able to address some front end curriculum ideas such as integrity and values – students were able to tell him whether they met/exceeded their own expectations and there was also one or two discussions on authenticity.