Sunday, 25 March 2012

Hexagonal Tiling

Trying Some Tiling

On a recent trip to Barcelona, I thought these lovely hexagonal Antoni Gaudi tiles in La Perdrera would generate some tiling investigations.
Reproductions are also used on the pavements of the city centre.
On returning to school I showed this photo to my students and we discussed the tiles, their shape and design and wondered if we could make some of our own that fitted together in the same way.  We noticed that 3 different ideas centred on alternate vertices which when they were put together made 3 different yet complete designs.  The bottom left tile bothered us somewhat though, as it didn't seem to fit the pattern.  Would ours do the same?  
So we investigated, first for a homework and then with the help of the photocopier and some good old cutting and sticking.  More of an art activity than maths, it could be argued, but the end results were very satisfying and made a stunning display.

First, some that didn't follow the above pattern:  

Then, others that did!

The bottom left tile on the original didn't bother us any longer!  Well done Year 6!

Monday, 19 March 2012

Will an A380 fit on our Pitch?

During a recent Maths Week measuring event, this question was posed to groups of children in our primary school (Y1-6 grouped vertically).  Luckily, days before, the school had been given three beautiful scale Airbus models, so we decided to find out.  
After a short discussion as to how we should work this out, the children measured the plan's dimensions and did the calculations together (the scale of 1:100 made it nice and easy). 
Next, armed with trundle wheels, we braved unusual sub-zero temperatures to measure the pitch.

Interestingly, the groups came up with different answers - counting the clicks of the trundle wheel proved trickier than expected - which in itself brought up questions about accuracy.  7 out of the 8 groups found out that the A380 would fit on the pitch, despite their conflicting original estimates!

We could have completed this activity in the comfort of our classrooms with computer facts and Google Earth at our finger tips, but for this time at least, we solved a problem practically and had some fun at the same time!
Other investigations and questions now await the other models...

Will an A380 fit on your school field or in your playground/school yard?

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Mathematics and displays

This post is about our recent adventures with display. At the International School of Toulouse, we are luck enough to work with some people who are brilliant at making displays and making their classrooms and the school an inspirational place to look at. As a maths teacher of nearly 15 years I must confess it has never been my strong point. So, in response to this, we decided to set ourselves a challenge - to fill the schools reception with great display work about things that go on in mathematics classrooms here and show off some brilliant student work. We had a 'Maths Week' in which we scheduled an evening for parents where we would exhibit the displays and have a fun competition which we called - 'So you think you can count?' - I will blog about that in another post!

Anyway the pressure of having a date and an audience prompted us to really work on mathematics displays and the following is some evidence of what our school reception looked like!

A walkthrough - this video is a walkthrough of the displays

Some Pictures - here is a slideshow with some images of what we got up to!


The activities - Here is a list and some links to some of the activities that gave rise to the displays.

The Art of Fractions - Olympic Circles - Prism People - The Rice Show - The 2012 Game - Paper Baubles - Human Loci - Volumes of Pyramids - The Wisdom of the Crowd - Rectangular relations - Visualising Indices