Students often question their Math teachers as to why they have to learn certain concepts in Math. Concepts such as the Pythagorean Theorem can be quite challenging for students to connect to the world outside. Teachers strive to help students to see the real life applications of these concepts. With the use of technology in Math classes, teachers can now breathe a sigh of relief as we are able to bring the real world into the classroom, and have our students see these concepts in their practical use. According to an article in “Annamath”, the Pythagorean concept can be used when designing a baseball diamond, or for something as simple as picking apples from an apple tree. How many students are able to visualize this in real life? Not many. However, with the use of technology they will be able to explore this concept more clearly in real life. Teachers could take their students to the apple farm to teach Math or to a baseball diamond to fully explore and experience the application of this concept, but this is not always possible in our daily teaching. So, in the absence of these types of visits, technology can help to provide an excellent simulation.
At the end of the Geometry unit in Grade Eight, the students were asked to design a park called “The Pythagoras Park”. The goal of the assignment was to design a new city park that the Mathematics department of a university is sponsoring. The park would be constructed on a rectangular lot beside the department’s offices. The lot is 250m by 400m. The students were encouraged to assume the role of engineers, and apply the concepts taught in the unit to design this park. The park has to include at least five of the following geometric shapes: Triangles: equilateral, isosceles, scalene, right, Quadrilaterals: square, rectangle, parallelogram, rhombus, trapezoid, kite, and circle, semicircle. The designs must have at least five of the following features: median, altitude, angle bisector, right bisector, centroid, orthocenter, in centre, circumcentre, parallel lines, perpendicular lines, diagonal, chord, slopes.
The students were placed in groups of two or three to design the park. They worked in the computer lab and used a computer software called Sketch Up to design the park. With the use of Sketch Up, the students were able to accurately make the scale diagram for the park based on their measurements, and design the park using 3-D shapes. The final product was a fully labeled scale diagram of their design and a written description of the features of the design. The scale diagram and written description had to include the location of any gardens, trees, walkways, lights, benches, fountains, gazebos, picnic areas, playgrounds and other features. With Sketch Up, the students were easily able to import these added features from an online 3-D warehouse.
Please click the link below to take a guided tour of a completed Geometry Park!
As a Math teacher who has experienced the evolution of teaching techniques and resources for over two decades, this is simply amazing! Technology has opened up a whole new world of Math for us as teachers and to our students on a whole. With these kinds of resources, our students are absolutely ready and equipped with the knowledge and skill set to take on the future by storm!
To see more posts about Mathematics related activities at Rowntree Montessori Schools, click here.
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