Mathspig loves this ‘Street Art’ time lapse clip made by projective geometry students at the Technical University, Munich.

SO … thought Mathspig … lets do it! Two days later Mathspig’s eyes nearly crossed trying to locate the Vanishing Point (below), which helps artists draw 3D images. It didn’t work due to the angle of elevation of the camera.

SO .. rethink needed. (See project 1 & 2 below)

Maths Meets Street Art:

Project 1

Students can draw this ‘hole in the earth’ by Circle/Line Art School on paper fairly quickly. The aim here is to practice 3D street Art.

Maths Meets Street Art:

Project 2: The BIG ONE

Students can draw this ‘concrete hole’ by MiltonCor on paper using a ruler, set square and pencils. Then they have to scale it up to a size large enough for them to sit on the steps. The class can the ‘concrete hole’ in chalk in the school yard. Basic shading only is required, not the shading detail shown in this video.

Finally, students can take a photo of themselves sitting on the ‘steps’ with maths books beside them.

Here is the AMAZING thing … according to designer Tom Wujec, who gives the TED lecture (below), the most successful tower builders are not business school graduates or CEOs, but kindergarten students. The stats are in the video. So here is the challenge. Can you build a structure higher than the towers built by kindergarten kids?

Towers built by Kindergarten Kids AVERAGE HEIGHT = 71 CM or 28 INCH

HIGHEST TOWER from 70 challenges = 99 CM or 39 INCH

The Tom Wujec TED talk is aimed at business ‘team building’. Nevertheless, it is an interesting challenge and fun too.

TAKE 2:

In fact, the Marshmallow Tower has been around for a very long time. This challenge for middle school kids involves as many marshmallows and sticks of spaghetti needed to build the biggest tower. This is also a great end of year/semester/week challenge.

Mathspig posted this picture of an awesome marshmallow tower here.

Peter Liljedahl , Assoc. Professor , Faculty of Edu, Simon Fraser Uni, Canada, has developed a revolutionary way of teaching maths.

He wants students of all levels to get the Aha! Experience in maths class. I met him at the ICME 13 congress in Hamburg.

His research, which extends across 600 Year 7 – 10 maths classrooms shows that his approach is very successful.You will find many examples of his recommendations at the Vertical Non-Permanent Surfaces hashtag or VNPS Twitter feed here.

This is what he recommends:

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1. DEFRONT THE CLASSROOM

Students stand around the walls working. Desks allow anonymity and this means students can avoid thinking. Some call this approach 360 maths, but that’s just the beginning.

In the 360 Math Classroom the desks aren’t needed.

More info on TEACH here. More on 360 Maths Classroom here.

But wait, there’s more to this.

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2. USE WHITE BOARDS

White boards proved to be the best non-permanent surface. Students scribbled calculations on the boards and wiped them off. They worked across the surface.

Some teachers even stood tables on end to get enough white board surfaces.In the following youtube clip teacher Lindsay Chinn is piloting 360 degree maths on whiteboards.

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3. USE RANDOMLY SELECTED GROUPS

Frequent and visible random selection was very successful. Students accepted the fairness of this approach. And teachers devised all sorts of means of randomising groups. They gave students numbers and drew numbered marbles out of a bowl or pulled names out of a bag.

The groups should consist of 3 or 4 members to be effective.

Jacob, Morten, Philip and Shania attempt to calculate

where one of them should lie on the floor

to land an m&m from an m&m cannon in their mouth.

This is from fab Jes Jorgensen’s maths class in Denmark.

Here are some students from Mylene Abi-Zeid’s 1P Math Class in Ottowa, Ontario, Canada

working in a decentred classroom on Vertical Non-Permanent Surfaces. You will find Mylene’s Twitter feed here.

CELL PHONE PLANS

Students must pay for their own cell phone plans. There are three plans Pay As You Go, Basic Plan and Easy 4 U Plan. Costs are defined. Students must write an explanation that will convince their parents this is the best plan for them.

You’ll find open ended maths tasks for all levels here.

IMAGINARY is a German website where ART and MATHS combine. It is AMAZING.

Schools, museums, students, anyone can download interactive Computer Programs like MORENAMENTS (below) to create art, maths demonstrations and public exhibitions. IMAGINARY also contains maths/art films, an art gallery, programs for printing 3D-sculptures, maths texts and exercises, and more.

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It is FREE.

It is written in ENGLISH.

Here are a few highlights picked by Mathspig, but you have to explore the website yourself.

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SURFER

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SURFER is a program that allows you to put in any equation and test the resulting 3D image. There is a brief video explaining how it works and you can download the program here.

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WORKSHEETS

You can download worksheets for every school level, but get ready. Here is a worksheet for 5-7 year olds. But why not? Five year olds can look at sheet music without running away screaming, why not show them ALGEBRA too?

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Mathematicians Just Wanna Have Fun

The following videos show mathematicians having fun! If your middle-school students think maths is ‘boring’ show them just one of these videos.

Mathspig tried the m&m Algebra Challenge in her ICME 13 Workshop in Hamburg.

BUT … I bought PEANUT m&ms. OH Nooooooooo!

They were the WRONG SHAPE. Deformed m&ms bounced everywhere. All I could do was collect the m&ms in my gloved hands and hand them out to the workshop participants. They seemed to enjoy the failure.

But Mathspig does not give up that easily.

Here is the m&m ALGEBRA CHALLENGE with PLAIN m&ms.

The Great m+m ALGEBRA CHALLENGE

Method:

1. Open a packet of PLAIN m&ms. (Wear white Gloves like the m+ms)

2. TIP onto table. (Put a few books around the edge to define an area.)

3. Sort the m&ms into:

…m -UP pile.

…m-DOWN pile.

4. REMOVE the m-UP pile.

5. PICK up m-DOWN pile and TIP again.

6. REPEAT until only 1 m+m is left.

The pattern should follow the exponential equation here: