Monday, 15 April 2013

Minecraft Plans and Elevations!

This year we have had our first go at using minecraft in teaching maths! Love it or hate it people, are playing minecraft and whilst the addictive nature of the game is a genuine cause for concern, there seems to be a wonderful element of creativity involved along with some real potential for learning! With some yr 7 and 8 mths classes, we thought we would have a little go at seeing how we could use it. We went for something quite simple and used it as a context for exploring the drawing of 3D shapes, plans and elevations! Students made the shapes on my iPad whilst it was being projected and then we had a go at drawing their plans and elevations. With another class, we took screenshots of the shapes from different angles and used them to try and make isometric drawings of them. It is lovely that minecraft allows you to ‘orbit’ what you have built and look at it from different angles. Students then went on to make their own shapes in mincraft for homework and draw the corresponding plans and elevations. Some even did this in minecraft too! This is a real help with what we were trying to do. There is little doubt that, for now at least, the context was deeply engaging! Thats good enough for now, but we will keep thinking about ways to try and benefit from the minecraft craze! Below are some pictures of what we did. 

Trig Function Families

This is just a quick post about some fun year 11 had with this 'Trig function families' activity. Fun is in somewhat shorter supply as exams approach and so it was great to do something that can really help to understand ideas. The aim of the exercise is to help students understand how the shape of a trigonometric function and its equation are linked. Working with the general form of ....

f(x) = asinbx + c

Students were asked to try and make some of the different images that had been made by varying the values of a, b and c. This is quite different from simply seeing what happens when you vary the values, because you have a particular shape and image to work towards! The results can be very satisfying on the eye! See the slideshow below for some examples.

A slightly different take on the same idea is to try and make the following animations! They are quite are challenge! Are you up for it?

We did find that this was an excellent use for the brilliant online graphing calculator at Desmos. All in all this is an engaging and effective exercise!