Saturday, 18 September 2010 | 1 Comment
I showed WCYDWT: Spacing Evenly to some of my classes this week. A couple of reflections…
Generally, the first response from students in the three classes I showed this to was “divide by 3”. Apart from the obvious reason, 3 screws, the other contributing factor may have been that the width of the wall was 930mm, a number nicely divided by 3.
Year 7 – I share the “self-select” Year 7 class with another teacher. At the start of the day, Tuesday, I mentioned that I took these photos and he explained that he came across the exact same problem on the weekend – positioning 5 piers for a patio.
He had this class first that day, so discussed his problem with them. I had them later in the day, and presented my problem as well.
They didn’t see the connection to my colleagues problem until I pointed it out.
Year 8 – A low ability Year 8 class. After pointing out the problem of dividing by 3, a few just wanted me to move the screw back a couple of inches (why they even mentioned inches I don’t know). It seemed harder to convince them that I wanted the screws evenly space than some dodgey job. One student came up with a nice solution of dividing by half and then dividing each half in half again – an elegant solution, but most of the other students didn’t get that either.
The problem would have benefited from a bit of hands on. So, in this worksheet is an image with an outline around the wall. The picture has been scaled to 1:10. I should have let the kids work out the problem using this first.
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Simon Job — eleventh year of teaching maths in a public high school in Western Sydney, Australia.
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