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Math You Can See

I'd like to share some great examples of "math made visual" this week at Saint David's.

In Grade Three, boys are working in teams to create a "Geometry City." Each city must meet various qualifications established by the teacher, and incorporate polygons, angles, lines, and lines of symmetry. 

Meanwhile our fourth graders, learning how to add and subtract fractions with like and unlike denominators, are collaborating in pairs or groups of three to design representations of various tasks using colorful square manipulatives.

The project's challenges begin with simple, like denominators, and progress in difficulty to a series of unlike denominators. (For example, "build a design that is one third yellow, one sixth red, one half green.")

Finally, our sixth graders, employing what they've just learned in their Digital Universe astronomy unit about the properties of various planets, are teaming up to design 3-D Space Colonies.

The boys must include prisms or cylinders, fit their design into a cube measuring 10 cm on a side, calculate the area and volume of each structure, and write a description of the colony including details about its location, function, and living spaces. This project will culminate when they print out their colonies using a 3-D printer.

When our boys visualize math in projects such as these, they are able to actually see if their solutions are correct or need adjustments. This is a powerful way to increase understanding of underlying concepts, and is illustrative of Saint David's program-wide focus on making thinking visible.


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