Thursday, 12 January 2012

Original Lesson 6: Build Your Dream House Maths

Invite students to imagine their dream house. Hand out a large piece of brown coloured poster paper as their land. Then, the sky is the limit in terms of the maths activities you can base around the different elements of the house. It can be modified to cater for all grades, most maths topics and every child's imagination. Giving students choices is important. After all, it is their dream house. For instance, you could ask them to use fractions in three places of their house and show their workings, which could be placing trees 3/4 a metre apart, or for lower grades colouring in half of the tiles on the driveway. You could ask the children to include different angles in their house layout and measure these in degrees. The possibilities are truly endless and students will see for themselves the huge amount of uses and omniscient presence of maths in their everyday lives.

This is a maths activity that can be used with so much breadth and depth that it is exciting. It can be used as a single lesson, a week-long link to a real-life context for maths you are covering or a term-long project that incorporates a wide variety of different mathematical concepts. It can also form part of your classroom reward system with students able to make additions to their house according to the amount of money they earn for good or improved behaviour.

I've created a few sample activities but these really only skim the surface of your imagination:

Do you think your students would be interested in this kind of activity/project?

Have you done anything similar to this in the past?


Anonymous said...

This looks great Anna! So open and yet so chock full of real world links to make maths meaningful. I think students will really enjoy it. Well done!
Years ago (when I was 12), my teacher had us design our own Pacific island complete with map, travel brochure, encyclopaedic style description. It was a great project. I can see this dream-house project moving beyond maths and integrating other areas like technology, science and art - the same way the Pacific island project did.
Very impressed,
Carolyn :)

Anna Kapnoullas said...

Hi Carolyn,
That project sounds amazing! Children (and I think many adults - certainly me) would be so excited to create their own island. I would have a mansion that spanned the whole island on mine and went underground so I could view the marine life like an aquarium. That gets me thinking: students could build their dream house on their own Pacific Island and do both of these projects as a term-long, integrated venture.
Thanks again, your contributions always improve my ideas so much!

Miss B said...

Hi Anna,
I love this idea. I ran a similar unit for measurement and combined inquiry topic of healthy lifestyle, where the students designed a 2D birdseye view of a healthy lifestyle park. They had a lot of fun designing it and allowed me to do whole class focus on specific maths skills the students needed to complete their park.
This is the first time reading your blog. Very excited to see what other great ideas you have.

Anna Kapnoullas said...

Hi Miss B,
That's a fantastic way of integrating health into the curriculum because I know in some schools it's a real struggle to allocate that subject significant time with all the primary focus on maths and literacy. I can understand why students loved creating their own parks given that I'm sure for many of them a favourite weekend pastime would be to visit the local park, or playground for younger years.
For older years I would probably modify this slightly and have them create their own theme park, especially for Victorian kids who (from some areas) often holiday in Queensland and visit the many theme parks there. Plus Victoria just got its first water theme park recently.
Thanks so much for sharing your great lesson and for visiting.