Monday, 15 April 2013

Masking Tape & Magic Squares

Today was the 1st day back after the Easter Holidays and this gave me a chance to put into good use my purchases as part of my experimentation with #poundlandpedagogy. For more details on this see my previous post -

So, today with my Y8 set 5 class (one of them) I decided to use the 'masking tape' that I bought. I created a large 3 by 3 grid on the floor of the class underneath my IWB. Here's how it looked...

I started the lesson, as you can see by the image on my IWB, by getting the class to do a few things involving a 100 square. Namely, I got them to choose any 3 numbers of their choosing (>10) and add them up and then I asked them to pick a 2-digit number, reverse the digits, subtract the smaller from the larger number and then look at what the lowest possible answer was and why.
After this brief starter to bed them back into school life I drew a 3 by 3 grid on the board and asked them to experiment with it and try and create a 'Magic Square'. A square where all the rows, columns and diagonals sum to the same amount. I gave them free choice of what numbers to use and provided support (along with my 2 LSAs) whilst they were attempting this. The class found this quite challenging but none the less they were all able to access the task. Whilst the class did this they each had a go at our usual 'times tables challenge'. Using the IWB times tables 'game' I found off the TES they each had a minute to get as many correct answers as they could. I record these scores on a regular basis and the class love doing it and request it each lesson if I haven't mentioned it!

After the class had had a go at trying to create a 'Magic Square', and they had each completed their times tables challenge, I stopped them and prepared them for the next task.

I wrote the numbers 1 to 9 on the whiteboard and gave them each one of my number tiles from 1 to 9. I then told them that they would now try to create a 'Magic Square' using themselves and the tiles they had been given. They were to use the 3 by 3 grid I had mapped out on the class floor using the masking tape to do this. We spoke briefly about the significance of the numbers, the fact the number 5 would be a great choice for the 1st number to go in the 'middle' of the 'Magic Square' and then looked at the pairs of the remaining numbers.

The next part was over to them and I pretty much just stood back and let them get on with trying to move themselves, and each other to make the 9 numbers fit so that it created a 'Magic Square'. It was good at this point to see those students who took the lead and were telling others where to stand.

They didn't quite get to the full solution, they were close...but needed a bit more guidance, so we went through this on the table at the back of the class...

I'm lucky enough to have had exactly 9 students in my class to do this activity with. However, I can see it being run in class with different groups as a competition. Perhaps set up, using your masking tape, 3 different 3 by 3 grids around the room. Split the class into 3 teams and get them to see which team can get the solution the quickest?! I'm sure there will be more ways I can use the masking tape - any suggestions are more than welcome! #poundlandpedagogy

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