Saturday, June 25, 2011

Fraction A Day - Day 13 - Randy's Polygon Challenge

Today we are lucky to have a guest Fraction from Randy Caton.  Randy has taught introductory and advanced physics courses and laboratories to classes ranging from 5 to 700 students and has used Peer Instruction and Just-In-Time-Teaching for 30 years. He has directed several science education programs for teachers and students from 1986 to 2008. He is currently retired and lives in northern Minnesota. Randy has used Etoys to develop web-based activities for NASA programs and physics courses.

Randy created a wonderful polygon challenge where kids modify a script and the number of vertices in a polygon to create and discover beautiful things.

Part of what I like about Randy's approach when designing lessons (at least what I can tell from seeing some of them), is that he has the kids discuss the ideas, predict what is going to happen, try it, then record what they observe.

Maria Droujkova of Natural Math joined us for our meeting today and had a wonderful idea to go along with this where the kids are the polygons.  She uses kids as vertices and yarn or rope as the sides.  See images of Maria in action with some parents and kids below:

Our goal is to come up with a set of materials so that teachers, parents and kids can use these activities to explore and learn.  One of the goals for the materials will be that "anyone" can use them, to run these activities and the fact that you are not a mathematician (Maria) or a rocket scientist (Randy worked with them) will not hinder you from using and getting a lot out of the materials and lessons.

Randy's project can be found here Polygon Challenge 1

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