Examples

Turkey investigation problem

The Turkey Investigation project is part of a research program by Catherine Fosnot, dealing with inquiry-based learning in mathematics. Grade 3-5 students work on problems related to multiplication and division.

The problem is typically related to the American context. Here follows the short description.

Turkey Investigations, Grade 3–5: A Context for Multiplication invites you into Dana Ostrowsky’s third-grade classroom. Here children explore two problems that are posed separately by Dana. In Buying the Turkey, the first problem presented to the class, students grapple with the cost of a 24-pound turkey that is priced at $ 25 per pound. In the next problem, Cooking the Turkey, students think about how long to cook the 24-pound turkey if, as one recipe suggests, it needs to roast for fifteen minutes per pound. Because the numbers in each problem—the relationship between a quarter of a dollar and a quarter of an hour—have been carefully crafted to support the use of similar kinds of grouping strategies (e.g., grouping four quarters to make a dollar in Buying the Turkey and putting four fifteen-minute intervals together to make an hour in
Cooking the Turkey), there is the potential for students to model the problems in similar ways.
The challenges presented by these two problems to students who are making their first forays into multiplication push students to look for shortcut strategies and support the development and the discovery of specific mathematical big ideas (e.g., the distributive and associative properties of multiplication) and landmark strategies (e.g., repeated addition, skip counting, doubling and halving, etc.). As students struggle with these problems they also develop different ways of modelling them. This includes the ratio table, the open number line, and the double number line. (A. Cameron, S.B. Hersh, and C. T. Fosnot, 2005)

You can watch a part of the series of videos below. This may inspire you to look for problems that are interesting for your pupils and can be designed to challenge them.

Juggling

Juggling is fun, it’s a nice break, you can do it anywhere, and at any level. If you do not have juggling balls, you can easily make them yourself. See the video below or search YouTube for more examples. Some use rice, others flour. We experienced that making juggling balls from (old) tennis balls is the easiest and gives the best result.

Now you can start juggling. First a video for young kids and thereafter more technical video on how to learn juggling.

Juggling, just like training any physical activity, changes the brain. Read The Art of Changing the Brain or Juggling Boosts the Brain (Nature, 2004). We do not wish to spoil the game, but there is mathematics in juggling. See Math is in the air.

Hedy – gradually learning a programming language

Hedy is a programming language and a new way to learn a programming language. You will learn the programming language Hedy in a similar way to learning a normal second language; gradually. This means errors in the syntax are allowed at the start. You will start with simple expressions and will learn the syntax (grammar) step by step. There is no need to install something to start programming with Hedy, you can just start in your browser. Hedy prepares you to program in Python later on. Python is a general-purpose coding language, which means that it can be used wider than in web development.

Hedy is text based, unlike Scratch and Logo which are graphical. All three programs have their strengths and weaknesses. You will learn the basic concepts of programming, such as variables and conditional statements (e.g. if-then-else) much easier and earlier in Hedy then in Scratch.

Hedy is being developed now and has a limited set of levels up till now, but it is very easy to get started. Scratch as a programming language encourages more creativity, but can also be frustrating in the beginning. Hedy is much more structured and scaffolded. Different pupils may prefer different approaches to learn programming. As a teacher is is valuable to know the options.

The following video explains why Hedy was developed.

Amazing maps

The website FarandWide offers blogs maps on a wide variety of topics. Although the website is targeting US citizens who wish to travel, there are interesting topics that may be used by curious person. Particularly interesting are the many sets of maps available: geographical, social, political, historic, current social issues etc.

100 Amazing World Maps

Maps that changed the world

Recently a set of 75 maps were published with data on European countries that may be of interest when travelling. Most maps show when the data were gathered, though with some maps this information is missing. Though this can be a good exercise for students to look at data and information on the web critically.

Maps that show Europe in a new light

Wrong Historical Maps

Two examples of Maps that made us laugh and could be inspiration for students to search for or make their own maps.

See our other blogs on Maps for example: Critical on Maps and Maps of the World

Actionbound – Scavenger Hunt

Actionbound is software that makes it easy to create Scavenger Hunts for your students. The students use an App on their telephone to use the ‘bound’ you have created. Actionbound is based on maps and uses GPS. You can create missions which are tasks and quizzes that require an answer. As a teacher creating a ‘bound’ you can upload audio, video, and pictures. You decide how students can send in their results on missions. Different formats can be chosen: sound, video, picture, text. You can also define how students should respond on quiz questions: in text, numbers, with a slider etc.  


[Actionbound is availbale in English and in German. Both missions, which are open tasks, as well as  quizzes offer good options to design for inquiry skills. It is very easy to see implementation of interdisciplinary bounds. Any combination is possible: mathematics, physics, biology, language teaching, history, geography, arts etc. Outdoor learning and kinesthetics are incorporated in the use of Actionbound. Actionbound can be a good alternative for learning in class during the corona pandemic. The App can be used from grade 4 onwards.
The developer software can be tested for free. When you start using the program in your school you need a license to publish your ‘bounds’ and to monitor the results. The App for students is free.

Spin the wheel

Wheel of Names and Spin the Wheel – are two similar programs that enable you to make your own wheel of fortune. When students get the task to make their own wheel within certain boundaries, they can explore what type of words should be used to generate in a specific context.

This can vary from extending vocabulary (adjectives, adverbs, interjections …) that can thereafter be applied in text writing, a rap, a poem etc., to creating several wheels with a group of students, whereby the words on the wheels should result in phrases that make sense or are (grammatically) correct. It can be an interesting inquiry and discussion what words make correct sentences and what does ‘correct’ mean to different students?

The programs could also be used as a pilot test before students create physical cardboard wheels.

  Purchase  Gratis
 Requirements Wheel Decide – BrowserSpin the Wheel- Browser & iPhone, iPad (iOS 9.0 or later), Google Play/Android

Make paper boxes using Origami

Right now many people spend much more time at home. A good time to sit and make some nice boxes for gifts, small items such as jewelry, or for cookies you have made.

There are many examples on YouTube of slightly different techniques and results. Here just one example.

 

Link to a little more complicated closed box.

You do not have to think about school work when making such boxes, but for those who wish to see the mathematics there are many concepts that are being used and applied (division, fractions, angles, proportions, measurement, square etc.)

If you wish to make it a real challenge. Try to make a box out of one piece of paper where three ping-pong balls, or three golf balls, fit snugly. (It does not have to be a rectangular shape).