Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tech Tips Tuesday

Integrating ICT with Maths

Last week I had a great lesson planned for Maths. I was going to get the laptop trolleys and have my students use a Microsoft Word template to insert 2D shapes into a table. It was fairly straightforward and I had my template ready to go.

Unfortunately, on arrival at school, I found a big red sign on one of the trolleys stating "DANGER. DO NOT USE". I wasted no time tracking down someone who could give me more information. As it turned out, the trolley had been sparking, and was thus deemed unsafe until it could be looked at further by someone in the know. Needless to say, that didn't help me with only 20 minutes until my class walked through the door!

As is often the case when you plan to use technology, I had to rethink what I would do. There were still four laptops and I have a student computer in my room, so I grabbed them. As I went to leave the storeroom, I noticed the iPads, which I hadn't yet utilised. I had no idea what apps were on them, but a plan started forming in my mind - and all it required was the camera and a drawing application.

So what I ended up with was four Maths centres:
1. Using the laptops with the Microsoft Word template to draw and describe common 2D shapes: triangle, square, rectangle, pentagon, hexagon, rhombus, trapezium and octagon. The second page involves students creating their own design with polygons of their choice - but students did not get to this in the time allotted, and finished during our lab session.

2. Using iPads to photograph five shapes in the classroom environment and then using Draw Free to trace the polygons in the photos and label them.

3. Using rubber bands and geoboards to explore quadrilaterals and then draw them in their maths books.

4. Using plastic sticks of various sizes and pins to create polygons with a variety of sides and explore how these shapes change when tilted and manipulated in other ways.

What resulted was a really enjoyable set of Maths centres focused on exploring polygons. I should also mention that I used the Mathletics dictionary and concept search to support my definition of polygons and quadrilaterals prior to the activity centres.

It's great when things work out, even when they don't initially go to plan!

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