To quote Dan Meyer in his recent post Teaching WCYDWT: Learning – “The fact is that I don’t find ideas for curriculum. They find me.”
I can’t agree more.
Here’s what happened this week: My year 9’s have been working on Perimeter and Area. Lots of different abilities. Lots of text book exercises. Teacher not too happy. Bored and knowing that he was not catering for mixed abilities.
Then Tuesday I walked into my kitchen, went to the fridge, and noticed an old take away Bento Box sitting on top. Can’t even remember why I kept it. Took it down, opened it up and saw this:
What a wonderful array of shapes! So what could you do with this Mr T?
1. Idea 1: Get the students to measure the shapes and work out their areas. Perhaps find what % of the area of the box is taken up?
YUK! I’ve just come up with a typical text book question. More routine skills practice.
2. Idea 2: The chopsticks rest measures 2cm across. Use this measurement to “scale” the photo. Then dimension it and continue on with idea 1.
3. Idea 3 came to me in the shower Wednesday morning (great place for creative thinking while in alpha mode). Why not get the students to design their own Bento Box? Creating is a higher order skill right?
Maybe not as brilliant as Dan Meyer (whoops I tell my students not to compare themselves with others), but still it has potential.
So Wednesday night I sat down at my over-worked laptop and whipped up an assignment sheet. Add a title in Samarai font from fontspace. Add a couple of images from Wikimedia Commons. Hmm – a border would be good.
I then remembered that my friend Mario Letizia served great Bento Boxes at his great restaurant in Shepparton. Read a review here. So I added his name and restaurant to give the task a local flavour (please excuse the pun).
I decided to put 3 constraints on the students:
I picked 400 because I knew a full scale drawing would fit on an A4 sheet.
Then came THURSDAY’S lessons!
Stay tuned for my next post on how this activity “played out” in the classroom.