Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Thought Plants

In Toulouse, at the Préface Gallery, two artists Charlie Youle and Bevis Martin are exhibiting some beautiful sculptures, "Thought Plants".
The Préface website says:
Thought Plants présente un ensemble de sculptures murales réalisées à partir de dessins de plantes faits par des enfants. Les dessins originels sont en réalité issus d’une méthode de calcul pédagogique et ludique destinée à faciliter l’apprentissage des mathématiques. Ainsi, derrière une représentation de la nature Bevis et Charlie nous donnent à voir la relecture d’un motif oscillant entre la spontanéité enfantine et la rigueur mathématique d’un algorithme.
The pictures that the artists based their work on were factor trees featured on this blog. In fact, that's where they encountered the trees! Mr Gregg was amazed when he first heard from the artists, who he'd not met before, about the project.
Miss Ash and Mr Gregg went to see the private view to open the exhibition. It was wonderful to see how the 2D shapes created by our students had been lovingly recreated in 3D in pastel shades that gave them a sense of being carved in colourful stone.
 In the basement there was more work based on a mathematical theme:
Miss Ash talking with Charlie Youle
The artists with Mr Gregg

Back in 2013 we posted about the factor trees that the Year 5s had created.
It was surprising and wonderful to see them being given a new life as artworks!


Charlie, Bevis and their daughter came to visit us at IST today - see the Year 4 blog.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

La Fête des Maths, Beaumont de Lomagne

We were invited to have a stall at the wonderful Fête des Maths at Beaumont de Lomagne this year.
As well as having some excellent help from some of our students, it was brilliant to see so many families from school coming to enjoy the day at the birthplace and home of Pierre de Fermat.
There were lots of fine stalls there, with all sorts of things to play with: puzzles, games, cooking-related activities, origami; We seven different activities on our stall, and they attracted quite a crowd!
Here's a slideshow of the event:

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Seven lessons on scaling in Year 4

The idea of scaling is really important in mathematics, and everywhere in the world, so in Year 4 we've spent seven days exploring it in different ways.
 We started off by scaling up shapes drawn on grids. We looked at this:
This is what Rod drew
Then we made some scaled up shapes ourselves.  And we had lots of them (sometimes it went wrong the first time, an we had to re-do it):

 The next day we made designs with pattern blocks, with a certain ratio: two triangles to one square. (Thanks to John Golden for this idea.)
There were streets, cats
Here are some of them put on a graph:
and two charts made on paper:
What about a pattern that could carry on forever with the same ratio!
 Next up, we looked at A-sizes of paper. We use A4 most of the time, but the wonderful thing about this shape rectangle is that you can cut it in half and it's just the same shape scaled down. So, that's what we did, starting at A2 paper:
 In our fourth lesson, we looked at two models of the A380. The real A380 is one hundred times longer than the big model, and five hundred times longer than the small one.
Taking the small one, how long would the runway at Blagnac need to be to be the same scale?
We looked on Google maps:
So, about 4km. We divided this by 500 together, and got...
8 metres!
We made some 8 metre runways (they're a bit too thin, but never mind):

   Next we made chocolate cornflake cupcakes. But we needed to scale up the recipe to make the right number of cupcakes.
We also had a go at scaling up with this website
and scaling down with this:
 This one was a bit of a challenge. We looked at a clip from Zoolander:

Thanks to Robert Kaplinski for this lesson.

The real question is how many times would you need to scale this model up to make the real school?
And.... how can you work this out?

We thought about this in groups, and came up with different ideas. But it was a hard question!