# Using Scratch in Middle Years Maths classes

Prior to Victorian Education Week  (May 17th to 23rd) my Year 7 and 8 Maths classes are participating in the “Crack the Code with Maths” challenge. The challenge is to create and upload one or all of three projects in Scratch.  Scratch is simple-to-use software, that allows users to create animations using drag-and-drop commands. I am using this free program, pre-installed on our government school laptops, as part of our geometry learning this term.

Scratch is an open-ended platform, allowing students to be imaginative and create an infinite variety of characters (called ‘sprites’) and backgrounds. The ‘sprite’ performs on a stage, which is based on the Cartesian Co-ordinate system, with (0,0) at the centre. The user creates an animation using simple drag-and-drop commands, such as ‘go to (x,y)’; ‘move 100 steps’ or ‘turn 90 degrees’.

The following links are some examples of what can be achieved with Scratch.

Some general, transferrable skills that you can learn with Scratch:

• Logical and creative thinking
• Systematic reasoning with instant feedback
• Communication and collaboration with peers
• Problem solving
• Developing patience and persistence
• Greater sense of control and responsibility for the learning process

Students can learn many maths concepts using Scratch, such as:

• Cartesian co-ordinate system
• Identifying, creating and naming angles (acute, right, obtuse, straight and reflex)
• Identifying, creating and naming polygons
• How to calculate the perimeter of polygons
• How to calculate the area of polygons

Below I have documented the various Australian Curriculum standards that can be learned using Scratch tasks:

Year 4

• Compare and describe two dimensional shapes that result from combining and splitting common shapes, with and without the use of digital technologies (ACMMG088)
• Create symmetrical patterns, pictures and shapes with and without digital technologies (ACMMG091)
• Compare angles and classify them as equal to, greater than or less than a right angle (ACMMG089)

Year 5

• Calculate the perimeter and area of rectangles using familiar metric units (ACMMG109)
• Describe translations, reflections and rotations of two-dimensional shapes. Identify line and rotational symmetries (ACMMG114)
• Apply the enlargement transformation to familiar two dimensional shapes and explore the properties of the resulting image compared with the original (ACMMG115)
• Estimate, measure and compare angles using degrees. (Construct angles using a protractor) (ACMMG112)

Year 6

• Introduce the Cartesian coordinate system using all four quadrants (ACMMG143)
• Investigate, with and without digital technologies, angles on a straight line, angles at a point and vertically opposite angles. Use results to find unknown angles (ACMMG141)
• Investigate combinations of translations, reflections and rotations, with and without the use of digital technologies (ACMMG142)

Year 7

• Describe translations, reflections in an axis, and rotations of multiples of 90° on the Cartesian plane using coordinates. Identify line and rotational symmetries (ACMMG181)
• Classify triangles according to their side and angle properties and describe quadrilaterals (ACMMG165)
• Given coordinates, plot points on the Cartesian plane, and find coordinates for a given point (ACMNA178)

Year 8

• Investigate the relationship between features of circles such as circumference, area, radius and diameter. Use formulas to solve problems involving circumference and area (ACMMG197)
• Plot linear relationships on the Cartesian plane with and without the use of digital technologies (ACMNA193)
• Define congruence of plane shapes using transformations (ACMMG200)

# Area of triangles

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This student was able to find dozens of triangles with an area of 4 square units using patterns on the geo-board. There are many activities you can try to consolidate your knowledge of area. Try IXL Maths practise, compare area and perimeter of two figures or Mathletics and Rainforest maths. Maths 300 is also an excellent resource for learning about the area of triangles. Click on the green triangle on the desktop of the computers in the pod or the lab to connect to Maths 300 activities.

Using grid paper, create triangles of fixed base and height length (for example, 5cm base and 4cm perpendicular height). Cut out these shapes and try to form squares or rectangles with them, so you can easily calculate the area. You will find that the height of the rectangle formed with the pieces of the triangle is half the height of the original triangle. So, the area of a triangle is equal to half x base x height.

Go to Technomaths to complete the student survey about your Maths learning in Semester 1. I have decided to use another blog for maths posts to keep current work closer to the top of the page. So make sure you bookmark the Technomaths website for future use.

# Perimeter and Area

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Year 6/7 classes have enjoyed having a student teacher, Zac Doherty, over the past couple of weeks. Zac is a past student doing his Graduate Diploma of Education teaching practicum rounds. Students have learnt about measuring length and perimeter and now we are starting to look at area of squares, rectangles, triangles and composite shapes.

Here  is a link to the Learning Federation interactive “Area of triangles“, which shows why we use the formula “the area of a triangle is equal to half the base multiplied by the height”.

This HOTmaths activity is also a great way to learn about area and perimeter. The HOTmaths site has several free activities and links to investigations (in pdf format) suitable for middle years students.

This a simple site for learning more about area and perimeter. Maths Playground has a good explanation of perimeter versus area and some interactive activities for students to learn more.

# Threatened Species Project

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This week in our Year 6/ 7 Science classes we are starting a project about Threatened Species. You have already learnt about the general  characterisitics of all  living  organisms and how living organisms are classified into Five Kingdoms and smaller groups depending on characteristics such as: single or multicellular, autotrophic or heterotrophic, vertebrate or invertebrate, warm or cold-blooded, lay eggs or live births, fins, fur or feathers. You have also created a dichotomous key to identify 10 different objects of your own choosing (fruit, icecream flavours, drinks, lollies, sporting balls etc.)

Your project must be about a local Victorian threatened species (you can find a list at DNRE) and should demonstrate your understanding of the characterisitics of living organisms. Your student task sheet, including assessment rubric and research grid, can be found on the  Year 6/7 wiki. (Activity 5) This project is due on Friday May 28th.

If you would like to practise some of the maths activities we did this week, here are the links:

Sort polygons into a table based on number and length of sides.

Shape Sorter – choose one or two rules and place the polygons in the appropriate Venn circle.

# Polygons, prisms and platonic solids

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Go to the year 6/7 wiki to find out which group you are in and complete the activities listed.

So far we have demonstrated that the interior angles in triangles add to 180 degrees – How can we show that the angles in quadrilaterals sum to 360 degrees? You can work out the number of degrees in any polygon by dividing the shape into triangles – count the triangles and multiply by 180.

BBC Bitesize has some great activities to learn about Shape and Space.

For any polyhedron, what is the relationship between the number of faces, vertices, and edges? Introduction to platonic solids at NSW Department of Education. Identify the characteristics of Platonic Solids  at the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives.

I have created a survey about Maths and Science learning this year. Please answer the questions as honestly as you can as it is aimed at improving my teaching in this class.

Leave me a comment below to let me know which activites you found most useful in your maths learning.

By the end of this unit of work you should be able to do the following:

• Identify, name, measure and draw six different types of angles (acute, right, obtuse, straight, reflex and revolutions)
• Identify, name, measure and draw six types of triangles (acute, right, obtuse, equilateral, isoceles and scalene)
• Identify and name six different quarilaterals (square, rectangle, rhombus, parallelogram, trapezium and kite)
• Identify and draw perpendicular and parallel lines
• Identify and calculate vertically opposite, alternate, corresponding, complementary, supplementary and co-interior  angles.
• Calculate missing angles in triangles and quadrilaterals.
• Accurately draw regular polygons and calculate angles in regular polygons.

Each of the following activities matches with specific learning outcomes.

Acute and Obtuse angles – Guess the random angle

Measuring Angles – What’s my Angle?

Naming and measuring angles – Kidport Measuring Angles

Vertically opposite, corresponding and alternate angles – Exploring relationships of Angles

Types of triangles – sort into Venn diagrams – Sorting Triangles

Angles in a triangle add to 180 degrees – Exploring Angles: Resize a triangle

Calculate  angles using opposite, complementary and supplementary angles – Exploring triangles.

Properties of Quadrilaterals  from BBC KS3 Bitesize

Shape sorter – Exploring Quadrilaterals    Sort shapes based on lines of symmetry – Symmetry Sort

Check out this new tool, Blabberize, where you can upload a photo or image and make it talk, using a recording of your own voice. How do you think we could use it in Maths and Science classes?

Farm shed at Churchill Island, off Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia.

In term 2, Year 6/7 students will be starting a unit on Angles. Why is it important to learn how to identify, measure, draw and name angles? You can see in the picture above that angles are all around us in the built environment. Here are just some of the jobs where knowing about angles is necessary: Architect, Builder, Carpenter, Cartographer, Engineer, Fashion Designer, Graphic Designer, Landscape Gardener, Pattern-maker, Pilot, Surveyor and Welder. Sportspeople, such as golfers, soccer players and snooker players also use angles. Perhaps you can think of some others? Please add them to the comment space below.

• What did you learn?
• Was the activity easy or challenging?
• Would you recommend the site for other students wanting to learn about angles?
• How would you rate the site out of 10? (where 10/10 is awesome!)

# Powers of Ten!

Image from the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives: Fractions, Ratio and Percentages. (NLVM site)

Multiplying and dividing by powers of 10 (10, 100, 1000, etc) is an important skill that will help you to work out decimals, percentages and converting measurements. You can use a number slider to work out the problems here.

Here are the rules for converting fractions to decimals and percentages. Try the BBC Skillwise Fractions, Decimals and Percentages game. A video on how to change fractions and decimals to percentages here. Some more interactive maths games about fractions, decimals and percentages.

# Learning Maths with technology

Smartkiddies Maths, learn maths online

Have FUN while learning maths, kids maths games, worksheets, lessons, videos and activities. Smartkiddies is developed exclusively by experienced teachers and is school curriculum based, No 1 for primary school use.

Both my 6/7 maths classes participated enthusiastically in World Maths Day this year, competing against students from all over the world in timed arithmetic challenges. Pen and paper tasks pale in comparison to the colourful and interactive learning activities offered by such programs. I have just signed both classes up to the Smartkiddies site, which allows teachers to assign tasks (including assessment tasks and NAPLAN-style questions) to each student, give individual feedback and track results.

# Year 6/7 Maths

Congratulations to all those students who were nominated and selected as mentors and administrators for this year. Mrs Murnane, Mrs O’Connor and I are very proud that you are all prepared to take on the extra responsibilities that your new roles will entail. Congratulations also to all those students who participated in activities on the Roses Gap Adventure camp last week, especially those that worked as a team and were encouraging their group members to achieve their best.

This week in maths we will continue to develop our understadning of decimal numbers. Those that completed the activity ‘Comparing Decimals’ with ease last week will go onto performing operations with decimals – visit BBC – KS3 Bitesize: Maths – Decimal Activities and complete the activites and the quick test. (Just treat the English pound symbols as dollars!). Save the score page to show me, so I can check your work. For more on adding and subtracting decimals you can use the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives Base Block Decimals. Use the Decifractator to convert fractions to decimals. Use the decimal number line to visualise the numbers in between.

More decimal activities can be found at FUSE. Type in the following codes for each activity:

Scale Matters: decimal numbers – YDWE83

Wishball: hundredths – 225PL8

Gamequarium: Decimal Games – 24PTEG

The students that had some difficulty in comparing the size of decimal numbers will work with me to improve their understanding using some computer games and a dice game called “Crocodiles and Sharks”.

Before the end of term I hope to start a short unit on percentages – please save all those advertising catalouges with sale prices advertised, so we can use them in class.