Everyday objects for everyday maths
“If you don’t understand maths, there’s no point in teaching a ‘trick’ to get to the answer” is Helen Kelly’s belief. In striving to encourage learners to discover the maths for themselves, Helen started to bring in a variety of household objects to use with the learners.
Frying pans of differing sizes can be used for ratios, scale factors, diameters and circumferences; properties of angles (opposite, alternate etc) can be illustrated with knitting needles; and matchsticks (spent ones, of course) are great for sequence formulae.
I hear and I forget
I see and I remember
I do and I understand
Scraps of paper can be used for proving the angle sum of a triangle and exterior angle properties, whilst gravy stock cubes can demonstrate Pythagoras’ theorem, geometric sequences and relationships between area and volume.
And if you need extra inspiration for ratio, look no further then the toy cars or dolls you may have stored in the loft, or even the Christmas baubles of snowmen and reindeers.
Helen has found that her learners look forward to their two and a half hours of GCSE maths lessons per week and in some cases, they are grasping the concepts, through discovery learning, to a much greater extent than she would have believed possible, leading to a permanence of learning that following a rule would rarely achieve.