My strategy for conquest is different. I've made a list of some of its components. Like Caesar's Gaul, so far it's got three parts:
I. Pick subjects that give power.
II. Find the subjects where kids can be creative,
III. Go into history and biography
VII. Climb up and down the ladder of abstraction
- § - § - § - § - § - § - § - § -
But now I'm going to add another part:
I asked my friend Charlie who works as an engineer what maths he thought really needed to be taught at school. Estimation, he said, you need that all the time. And luckily it's become more accessible and more engaging than ever with Andrew Stadel's estimation180.com . I've used this with my Y4 class last year, and we're going to start again next week. What's so great about it, is that the kids are interested in the estimation and they like the challenge. They especially like it when there's a video "reveal" at the end.
I have this idea that if we like it, we'll start creating estimation challenges in the Year 4 classrooms, maybe begin an estimation blog, perhaps begin to find estimations to do at home too, photo or video.After that we get other classes to have a go. Nothing too ambitious. First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin.
My trial challenge was not a complete success, but it's helped me to get the measure of what's involved:
Anyway, here's Mr Stadel talking about what he does:
IX. The real world
To be honest, this is something I know I don't do enough of. Using real things, real places, things you might find at home. We've just been looking at reading scales, and for the first time we've got the classes to look for dials and scales at home this week. The range is amazing: weighing scales, a barometer, pressure gauges on pumps, a metronome, the rpm and the speedometer in car, a clock... and some things from an aeroplane: how level you are and speed. There is just so much to talk about.
our creation of meters to measure things not normally measured. The idea was to create a bit more attachment to our dial by investing more in it than usual.
This as Turtle Gunn Toms says in a comment on Graham Fletcher's excellent post on modelling, means taking a situation and mathematising it.
It's another thing I really don't do enough of. Probably none of us do enough of it! The ideal is a situation where you have a question, you put numbers to it, out comes some kind of answer.
It's a lot harder to find good examples for the primary / elementary classroom. I'd like to have a collection of this kind of mathematical modelling question.
Here's one I'm thinking of trying soon: I was talking to the kids: "Here I am, standing in the middle of the room..." and it occurred to me, "Where exactly is the centre of the room? How would you work that out?" I said my thoughts out loud of course.
Not a very natural question perhaps, but I'd be interested to see how the class go about answering that. Some estimation first of all of course...