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.

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!)

Maths In Nature

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Maths is often considered boring or difficult by many people, but I am looking forward to showing this video (Nature by Numbers) to my Year 6/7 students after the holidays – it captures the simple beauty of maths in nature, using magnificent images created by Cristobal Vila. Thanks Denise, our art teacher at Hawkesdale, for this link. Another friend, colleague and mentor (Marg) has sent through a link to an article about Learning Media, a New Zealand company who produce web resources and CD-roms with interactive learning experiences for students, suitable for the NZ and Australian curriculum.

Another interesting link came through from the Victorian Association of Environmental Education, to an article by Sue White, “Teaching for the Future“. This article outlines Sustainability initiatives in a couple of great Australian schools and links to teacher’s resources. Victorian schools now have a two week break, with Easter in the middle, before returning for Term 2. I will be busy planning Maths, Science and Biology classes, as well as preparing for the Ultranet, an Education Department initiative to “connect students, parents and teachers” with a “21st century, online learning platform”.

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.

Maths and Science in our 6/7 class

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So far this year in Year 6/7 we have been studying positive and negative whole numbers – including factors, multiples and prime numbers. Next we are starting to look at numbers between zero and one or how we express the numbers in between whole numbers. We will be doing a short diagnostic test from the University of Melbourne “Teaching and Learning about Decimals” that compares the size of two different decimal numbers. The site above has many different activities using fractions, decimals and percentages.

In Science we have started with the Safety Rules and Equipment in the laboratory. We have performed some simple experiments, including measuring the rate of heating and cooling water. Now we are studying the states of matter – solids, liquids and gases – and the particle model. We have created our own mini-water cycle and created posters to show evaporation, condensation, precipitation, erosion, transpiration and aquifers.

Treasure Island – a mapping exercise

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Year 7 maths students are studying maps, scale and bearings over the next couple of weeks. They have created their own map of Treasure Island, showing a clear and accurate compass rose and realistic scale. Next they will write their own directions from the point of disembarking on the island to where the treasure is buried, using distance and true bearings. Students will be assessed using a rubric, created using Rubistar.

Pizza maths

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This week in Maths we are continuing our study of area, looking at the area of circles. Earlier in the year we measured the diameter and circumference of many different-sized circles and found the relationship between those values. We found that the ratio between the diameter and the circumference of a circle is a little more than 3. Archimedes, the famous Greek mathematician, accurately determined the value of ‘pi’ over 200 BC. We use pi = 3.14 or 22/7 as an estimate for calculations, as the real value is a never-ending (irrational) number. This value can be used to calculate the area of a circle. Students calculated the area of small, medium and large pizzas and then we used the prices of different pizzas from our local restaurant to calculate the value of different sizes and toppings.

Year 7 and 8 Science and Maths – Week 2

This week in Maths we will continue to investigate probability, looking at both theoretical and experimental results and using technology to generate long term random results. We will be doing the Maths 300 activities “Dice Differences” and “Problem Dice”.

In Science, we will finish our Paper Aeroplane experiment and start individual projects. Go to the Science Buddies  site and complete the survey which will help you to identify areas of interest and suggest some projects that may be suitable. We will use the On-Line Science Fair wiki to post our research and share our results. Make sure you sign up as a member (using  your school email address and password) and create a page where you can keep relevant information and links.

In Year 8 Science we have started the Human Body unit with a look at the digestive system. This week we will be doing food testing, so make sure you bring in a small sample of food to test. These are the tests we will be doing:

1. Brown paper or Emulsion test for fats and oils (lipids).
2. Iodine test for Starch
3. Benedict’s solution and heat for glucose (sugar).
4. Copper sulphate (10 drops) and sodium hydroxide (5 drops) for protein.