As a teacher, I enjoyed the challenge of finding maths in the every day and the creativity that comes from planning lessons. This has been true for many years, and over the years, I’ve put up many displays in my classroom using photographs from holidays to start conversations with students about what maths they can see or think about when looking at them. This has been true in my home too, and my older children now groan loudly when I start to say, ‘Well, that…. Is just Maths’.
One project that I took on during my teaching career I am particularly proud of was getting a group of staff, parents, and students involved in a creative maths club. Here we produced a 100 square knitted blanket, where the number of colours in each square represents the number of factors for that number, so square 2 has two colours as the number 2 as two factors and so on. The finished product is used as a learning aid in the school I was based at the time – it is on a wall as it is too large to be moved around.
The designing of this was a challenge as not everyone knits in the same way, so I had to devise a solution for different people producing exactly the same sized squares, calculating the amount of yarn we might need and joining all 100 squares together. It was pretty challenging and took nearly two years to complete! Here’s a picture of the finished article.
Teachers get students to ask questions about the blanket and have discussions about the colours and number of squares.
If you want more inspiration on finding maths around us, check out this page on our AMSP website. There are downloadable PowerPoints with photographs and prompts, suitable for Year 5 up to Sixth form. As well as suggestions for extending the challenge and getting students to take their own photographs where they think there is no maths and perhaps others in the class trying to change their minds.
by Yvonne Scott