Milan Cathedral – photo by Sophie Young

So, visiting Milan and wandering round the lovely Cathedral (one of the largest in Europe) I was struck by the geometry all around!

This week – in holiday mode some interesting sites on Mathematics and architecture:

From Tripbase, 9 Most Mathematically Interesting Buildings in the World and from Flavorwire, 10 Amazing Examples of Architecture Inspired by Mathematics. There is some overlap between these two lists, both mention quite rightly the cathedral in Barcelona Designed by Antoni Gaudi. For some great mathematical photos from Barcelona – see these previous two posts.

Barcelona - Cathedral

Barcelona – Cathedral – photo by David Young

For some further reading Plus Magazine has an article on Perfect buildings: the maths of modern architecture by Marianne Freiberger.

Marcus du Sautoy’s, Maths in the city site includes a suggested tour of London which looks at networks, geometry, resonance, curves and topology through the medium of chalk, sweeties, slinkies and rope!
The London tour includes St Paul’s Cathedral, John Shortt has written a Maths trail for Saint Paul’s, the ideas from which could also be used for other buildings.
WolframAlpha can be used for information on buildings. Note the different types of queries possible – simply type in the name of a building for information, for example see Eiffel Tower or enter two buildings for a comparison. It is also possible to look up properties of buildings, did you know that the Empire State Building has 102 floors?!
A great resource on TES for when we get back to school is Laura Wilson’s Plans and Elevations, a PowerPoint of images showing the plans and elevations of some famous buildings.

The last few days of term …

So – just a few days to go. I have a couple of Year 12 (UK age 16-17) lessons left. We have done everything we should and made a very good start to the Year 13 course – so what to do for the very last lesson? These logic puzzles from John Pratt should keep us happily and usefully occupied. (I have added these to the Puzzles page on Mathematics Games.) Or we could try another Kakuro Puzzle, students were fascinated by these when introduced to the puzzles by a member of the class. At the end of the year we ask Year 12 students to do a presentation to their peers which works well.

I wrote last week on End of term activities and mentioned the excellent Bingo games on Maths Box, colleagues have said how well the Treasure Hunts from the same site worked with their classes. Thank you Maths box!

Still thinking about games, I see that in the latest Nrich newsletter, Strategy games are featured for Primary teachers; these would also be useful for lower secondary.

This week I was pleased to see the new podcast from TES, ‘The Big Conference Interview Special’ which features interviews with some of the speakers from the TSM conference and  includes the pros and cons of using iPads in the classroom, a new curriculum for post 16s and an in-depth discussion about what the new UK mathematics curriculum will look like. At about 16.5 minutes in you can catch Criag Barton talking to me about the use of technology in the Mathematics classroom. The links I refer to can all be found in the slides here.

End of term activities

Darth Vader curve

Darth Vader-like curve on WolframAlpha

The school year is coming to an end for teachers in the UK and looking at the statistics for recent popular posts I can see people have been searching for end of term activities. I have recently updated this post with suggestions for such activities. Recent additions include fun with some plots on WolframAlpha; there are in fact a whole family of Star Wars curves! See also many other fun curves!

Other additions to the original post include Bingo which works really well. You might like to try a team game? Try The Workers of Zen(ATM publish books of team games) and I must mention A Little Problem for the Holidays

PacMan by Alec Schultz on Desmos

If those WolframAlpha equations are a bit much for younger students they could try something simpler using the Desmos graphing calculator; look at Alec Schultz’s PacMan for example, you could just show your students how to restrict the domain for straight lines, maybe show them the equation of a circle and see what they can produce! For more Desmos art have a look at this wonderful collection! (I have added a post to Mathematics for Students to show how to display parts of lines and circles on Demos)

Wishing teachers everywhere a happy holiday (only WolframAlpha would give you the Scrabble score as well as the definition!). For teachers already on holiday I hope you are having a great one.

See also – The last few days of term.

Geoboard Activities

Trangles on a 3x3 piboard

National Strategies – Exemplification Examples: Geometry and Measures

I have always found the above task, suggested in the National Strategies exemplification examples (click on the above image for the pdf) an excellent one when looking at types of triangles and their properties. Students are required to find the number of unique triangles on a 3×3 grid. The task can be extended by asking students how many unique triangles there are on a 4×4 grid. A good discussion can be had on being systematic in approach.
The next time I teach it I will certainly use a Geoboard.

For GeoBoard resources and suggested activities continue reading here.