Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Patterning with Skitch

The Big Idea: Patterns represent identified regularities and can be used to solve problems.

The Question(s):  What patterns can you create? Can you label and translate your pattern?

  1. Design a pattern using any classroom materials.
  2. Take a photo using Skitch on your iPad.
  3. Using Skitch label your pattern
  4. Trade iPads with a partner and translate each other’s pattern.
  5. Be prepared to share aloud with the class what patterns you created.

  1. I was excited by this student's example because it allowed me to discuss with the class how some ways of displaying data highlight patterns.  I asked the students which represent of the pattern was easiest to use when determining the "core" (the shortest part of the pattern that repeats).  The students all agreed that the letter pattern was the most difficult representation to use when looking for the core. 

    These students demonstrated they understood repeating patterns and could describe the core of their pattern when asked.  I was impressed with their ability to not only label their patterns using either a letter or a number code system, but most were able to translate the pattern into a different but equivalent form.  This demonstrated they understood the inherent structure of the pattern since they could represent it using different elements.  

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Personal Strategies

The Big Idea: Numbers have values that can be described, represented, and calculated in many ways.

The Question(s):

How many different ways can you solve this question?

  1. Open up ShowMe on your iPad and write out the question 
  2. Hit the record button 
  3. Explain your strategy
  4. Use one slide for each strategy.

One of the key learning outcomes in our Mathematics curriculum at the primary level is to have students demonstrate their understanding of addition and subtraction (limited to 1 and 2-digit numerals) with answers to 100 using personal strategies for adding and subtracting with and without the support of manipulatives.

Often when teachers view students written work in which they have tried to explain their personal strategies, we are left with questions.

ShowMe is a fantastic app that not only allows students to show what they know using an interactive whiteboard but the recording feature allows students to orally provide further explanation.

In the example below you will view a Grade Two student explaining her personal strategies for addition two numbers.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Seizing Symmetry

This week our exploration of the study of shapes continued.   The students enjoyed playing with mirrors and pattern blocks to explore and understand symmetry.   Very soon into building designs my students realized that the designs they created could have more than one line of symmetry.

On Friday I asked my students to build designs with pattern blocks and then asked "How many lines of symmetry are possible in a design?" I received numerous responses from one to two, four and six.  Next I modelled for my class how to capture a design using an iPad App called Skitch that allows users to annotate images using text, colour, and lines.

I was truly amazed with what happened next...  as the students discovered the lines of symmetry in their designs, outstanding inquiry questions began to arise such as...

"I wonder if it is possible for a design to only have three lines of symmetry?"

"I wonder if this point in the middle creates the symmetry?"

"I wonder if I could draw tons of lines through the middle point --- making lots of lines of symmetry?"

Below are some of the annotated images.

Listening to the children's questions, I knew that they were ready to be introduced to the concept of rotational symmetry also sometimes referred to as point symmetry.  I pulled them together around one of the designs and asked them to tell me more about what they were noticing about the middle point.   The child who intially had commented about the importance of the middle point offered his thoughts on why he felt this point was important.  He then stood up and went and got his ruler and showed how he could make a line going through any part of the centre point to create a line of symmetry.   I highlighted his "big mathematical thinking" and then explained and discussed rotational/point symmetry.  I was impressed with the vast number of children who truly understood.  Division Five has many budding mathematicians!

I see an endless amount of possibilities for using this app in Mathematics.  A colleague of mine had students use it to label 2-D and 3-D objects in the environment.  Students went on a "Shape Hunt" with iPads (cameras) in hand and took photos.  When they returned to the class they analyzed, sorted, and classified the data... all higher order thinking skills.  What ways do envision using this app in Mathematics? 

Symmetry in the Environment

Last Friday while I was in Victoria at the Ministry of Education office working on Math Curriculum a funny thing happened.  Our team had just begun discussing the use and importance of technology in mathematics when serendipitously my laptop began making sounds to notify me of incoming emails.  When I checked my inbox, I was thrilled to see numerous emails from my students with symmetrical photos they had taken in the school environment.

I had left a question for Division 5 that read "Where do you see symmetry in your environment?"

The students captured these objects using the camera on the iPad and were able to draw the lines of Symmetry using Skitch.

Thank you to my wonderful TOC and students who email me their images!  It made my day...

:) Mrs. Barker

A Unit of Time Inquiry Movie


"Words + Math + Seasons = Mathematickles!" Today we read aloud this wonderful book written by Betsy Franco and Steven Salerno.  Written in the form of brief poems, these authors creatively use mathematical processes to describe the seasons. 

Some examples include:

 "feet - shoes + grass = barefoot" 
"sneeze x three = winter sniffles"

Inspired by Mrs. L. Schwartz, a literacy consultant in my district who had done this lessons using a similar book titled This Plus That by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, I introduced the students to an app called Haiku Deck.  This simple to use app allows students to create simple, yet stunning presentations using a small amount of text combined with images.  After users type in their text, Haiku Decks suggests many Creative Commons images which can be uploaded as backgrounds.  Users are also able to search for images on the web or take or upload their own images.  

Here is a sample of some of the presentations the students created!

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad