Michael Caldwell▸ U4: Math Connections


Here's a brief description of a series of lessons which could be used to explore shapes within context across different curriculum areas.

Overall goal: to create a new flag for a country using pencil code.

English and HASS write a short bio on the history of a flag from a chosen country. Discuss the symbolism, metaphors etc from the flag, what does this tell us about the ideals of that country?

Maths: Explore flags of the world, discuss the shapes that are used in each, how do we draw each of these shapes?
Explore the maths of external and internal angles when drawing geometric shapes, use this knowledge to use pencil code and create an existing flag,

Before starting this task, students could organise flags into easy, medium and difficult to draw.

Students then must draw 3 different flags (set the challenge for the lowest ability, perhaps at least one needs to be from the medium pile?)

Planning: create a set of instructions for your partner to draw your chosen flag, can they guess what country it is just by the instructions?
How does the flag compare to the original? Why is it different? What aspects of your instruction (algorithm) were not clear?

Write the flow chart of how to draw your flag, create the algorithm, draw in pencil code.

Peer review: look at each other’s code and decide on methods to improve your own code
then use the design process to create your own flag and draw using pencil code.

An added activity to supplement this could be to design a flag drawing robot which can be programmed in Arduino or using a hummingbird activity kit. This is probably a but advanced, but why have the glass ceiling?

Potential Objectives explored (not exhaustive!):

Year 4

Create symmetrical patterns, pictures and shapes with and without digital technologies.

Year 5
Use a grid reference system to describe locations.

Explore the development of algorithms using positioning and navigational instructions, perhaps assisted by robotics, which can then incorporate discussion on digital systems and input/output.

Can explore the use of visual programming systems, such as PencilCode, to create shapes and explore angles.

Explore the ability to follow, sequence and create instructions for simple algorithm development.

Activities designed to explore sorting and classification, which integrates with the exploration of data, data attributes and pattern matching

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