Thursday, 14 June 2018

Tuakana-teina in action

As part of a whole-school Matariki celebration at PES last Friday, an amazing group of tamariki created kites in Room 11 with Mrs Stone and I. The reason for reflecting upon this event is the absolute joy of witnessing tuakana-teina in action. Vertical cross-groupings meant that the kite-makers ranged from Year 1 up to Year 8. Throughout the day there was a sense of whānau and belonging as older students supported and helped younger students design and create their kites from the assortment of materials provided. This sense of community was enhanced by rich oral language as young people negotiated sharing resources, shared design ideas and asked questions of others to find out how they had solved a particular design problem.

Participating in this hands-on experience offered all learners an opportunity to strengthen positive relationships beyond individual classroom walls and extend their sense of belonging within the wider learning community at school.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Measuring the fun in Maths

As part of our learning about how things move, I created a practical learning activity which integrated Inquiry, Reading, Writing and Maths. The purpose was to learn about some big Maths ideas (Shape and Measurement) and related vocabulary whilst making a model parachute based on the design of Leonardo da Vinci.

A number of challenges needed to be addressed to remove potential literacy barriers that could prevent some learners from engaging with the activity. After introducing the topic through a video, the initial focus for the whole class was exploring key vocabulary from the instructions. This was similar to launching a DMiC Maths problem to check everyone's understanding about the story of a problem. Learners then worked with buddies or in small groups to support each other as they tackled their challenge by reading the instructions, asking each other questions, checking understandings and taking risks to share their ideas and thinking.

Learners were required to accurately measure and cut out four equilateral triangles before combining these to create a square pyramid. Further precise measurement was needed to cut the correct length string (dental floss) for the parachute.

Nearly everyone created a parachute and many enjoyed experimenting (with varying degrees of success) how they could reduce and speed up the rate of fall by adding/ removing weight. Most learners could identify that they had used four plane shapes (equilateral triangles) to create a three-dimensional model of a square pyramid. Most developed an understanding that we measure angles using a standard unit of measurement (called degrees) with a protractor.

Overall, learners engaged positively with this integrated learning activity and worked well together. It seemed to offer the right amount of challenge whilst requiring cooperation and collaboration to achieve success. Additional support was provided for those who required it. Consensus was that it was a lot of fun and didn't really seem like Maths.