Saturday, November 28, 2015

Calculating the Cost of a Simple Summer Wardrobe

After our lesson Maths Fun - Exploring Real Data with Excel students were eager to have a play with Excel themselves. We were reading Onion Tears by Diana Kidd, and had read about how the main character Nam-Huong had arrived by boat with only the clothes she was wearing. We undertook an investigation to find out how much it would cost to get a simple summer wardrobe for Nam-Huong.

We began by considering the items of clothing that Nam-Huong would need and made a list on the board. After much discussion, and a last minute addition of a dress, we were ready to move on!

I put my students into small groups and each was given an iPad and access to a desktop computer (because we didn't have a spreadsheet app on the iPads). They were also allocated a shop to use for their pricing. We used Target, Kmart, Big W, David Jones and Myer. Students found the online catalogue for their store and searched through to find the price of the required items. They then added these to their spreadsheet.

Once they had all their totals, they used the formula =PRODUCT(B3:C3) and filled down the column. Once they had all totals they used the formula =SUM(D3:D12) to calculate the grand total.

Once everyone had finished, groups shared their results with the class and we were able to compare the grand total of each store. As always, when using real data the "answer" is never straightforward and this led to some great discussion. For example, one store didn't have all the required items in the catalogue and even when they searched the store online they were unable to find the price for a pair of socks. Another group had trouble finding a hat, and ended up settling for a Santa's elf hat. And one group was paying $25 per pair of underpants - severely impacting on their total cost. When asked, they said quite innocently, "They were frilly." I'm sure they were exactly what Nam-Huong needed when she arrived in Australia...along with her Santa elf hat! I'm not going to tell you who came in cheapest - you'll have to investigate that yourself. ;)

Further discussion arose about the need to monitor your online presence as a business to succeed in the market place. We talked about how many people now shop online, making it essential to have a website that helps people to find and purchase what they need. From our experiences there are some stores better positioned in this marketplace.

We had a lot of fun with this maths investigation and students rose to the challenge and learnt new computer skills. The following week we set a homework task where students could collect and represent their own data. One of my students decided to calculate cost and labour for a new pergola using Excel!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Motivation for Writing

I have been reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid - Old School by Jeff Kinney with my class of Year 3 boys and they have been LOVING it! I noticed a few copies making their way in to class early in the term, so jumped on iBooks and got a copy to display on the IWB. As we read together as a class the boys follow along on the screen, and some read their own personal copies. Sometimes I do the reading, other times the boys take turns.

Today we read the part where Greg forgets to put the lid on the toothpaste. One thing leads to another, and before the day is done Greg has manoeuvred the family car into a ditch! We loved reading this episode, and on completing we bounced off into our own writing. I paired students up with this free worksheet from MrsCroak at Teachers Pay Teachers.

After showing them how the Old School episode would sit on the worksheet, I got students to create their own storyline, starting from something simple and unproblematic. The buzz in the room was magic, and I was quietly pleased that they took to it so well at 2:30pm on a Thursday afternoon in the second last week of term! My students are typing them up in Google Docs and will use Sketchbook Pro on the iPads to add their own pictures in the style of Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Signing out of Google Docs on iPad

My students share iPads with other students across the school, so it's really important for them to log off Google Docs/Drive at the end of a session so that others cannot access their account. I struggled at first to find an easy way to do this, so here's a quick step by step explanation. You could put this up on the IWB for students to follow:

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 4

Step 5

Step 6

I hope this helps your students to learn the process and keep their work secure.

A Twist on Christmas Craft

This year I decided to try something a little different for Christmas craft. As my students have been learning how to write procedures, I thought I would give them a chance to find an appealing Christmas craft and write up the procedure for their classmates to follow. The instructions I gave, can be seen here.

Students used books, iPads and classroom computers to research Christmas crafts and find one that they wanted to make. Some worked independently, others in pairs. They then wrote up the procedure for their craft using Google Docs. This was their first time using Google Docs so I was really pleased with how well they took to it. The pairs shared the document so both could add to it at the same time.

At the end of the first session students worked out which materials they would need in order to make a sample. Some sourced these from home or the art room, others gave a list to me. The following lesson we brought together the resources and students made a sample, taking photos as they did so and adding these to their original document.

As always, the trick was then getting the file to a printer. So I set up a folder on our shared drive for students. They jumped on a desktop computer, opened their Google Drive and downloaded the document as a Word document which they saved to the shared drive. Moving to the computers also gave greater flexibility in terms of resizing images, and moving to word allowed for further wrap options with images. I was then able to send the contents of this folder to the printer for printing.

I shared this idea with the other Year 3 classes and we now have a great assortment of Christmas crafts to try. Next week we will set up rotations across all three Year 3 classes so that students can move around trying the different crafts and following the procedures.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Maths Fun - Exploring Real Data with Excel

This term my Year 3 class is learning to collect, organise and represent data. I feel strongly about giving students opportunities to work in real world contexts and using available tools, so try to plan Maths lessons to achieve this. Early in the term students conducted mini surveys to find out about class preferences, recording the results in tally form. They then input their results using Excel and created graphs to show what they found.

This week we worked as a class on a project using the school lost property basket. We wanted to sort through what was there and find the total value of the items in lost property. On arrival at the basket, we found additional ways to sort the items. Within the basket were lunch boxes and containers, non-school uniform clothing items, and school uniform clothing items. For the sake of our task, we decided to work only with the clothing. We carried it all to an outside space where we could sort it.

Uniform items were set out in a physical graph.
Students sorted through the clothing, initially separating the uniform from non-uniform items. Uniform items were then sorted according to type and set out to form a physical graph. We put sticky labels on items that were named, so that we could also record this data, and possibly return the items at the end of our task.

Non-uniform items were separated.
One student was responsible for being our photographer and another wrote down our findings in tally form. We counted the number of non-school uniform items, but didn't sort these, as it would be harder to determine the value of these.

On return to class we used Excel to organise our results. To begin with, we wrote out all the items and the total number we found of each item. I introduced the formula aspect of Excel, demonstrating how to calculate the total number of items with =SUM(B1:B14). We then used the uniform price list to find the cost of each item, and entered it into the spreadsheet. We used another formula =PRODUCT(B2:C2) to find the total cost for each item in column D. I demonstrated how to fill down for the rest of the items. Finally we filled right from B15 to get the total cost. Students were blown away by the total value of the lost property. It was much more than they had expected.

Working more with the data we had collected, we made a table to show what we found about labelling. We copied and pasted the first two columns from our previous table, and then added a column for the number of labeled items. We tried to make a graph with this information, but it wasn't representing what we wanted to show, so we had to consider other options. We then tried to find a formula for subtracting, and eventually discovered that we just needed to type =(B2-C2) in D2 and then fill down in order to get a column for Unlabelled. We were then able to hide column B in order to graph the results to show the total amount of each item with labeled and unlabelled displayed.

We then made one more quick graph to show the comparison of Uniform to Non-Uniform items.

We sent our findings to the Head of School and Junior School Director, as something that might be mentioned at the SRC meeting as a reminder for students to write their name on their clothing, check the lost property and take greater responsibility for their property.

The task took about 90 minutes from start to finish, and involved a lot of modelling in the classroom rather than students having a chance to work it all through for themselves on the computers. Many are now keen to have a go with Excel to create their own spreadsheets and use formulas. My plan is to try this next week, with students calculating the value of a simple summer wardrobe.