Friday, 16 December 2011

Completing the Bamboo House Designs

Today the students completed their community house designs. They also completed individual assessments on the geometry found in the building models.

I asked the students to label their model houses with all the geometry terms that they could find. Here are the students discussing in their groups about what geometry can be found in their houses.

Here the groups are consulting their Maths reference books to check the names of the geometry terms found in their model house.

We have a total of seven house designs in the class. As a summative assessment, the students were interviewed by Ms Agnes to find out their individual understanding of the geometry terms in their house models.

To wrap up this inquiry, Ms Jane used the iPad app A+ Measuring Finger. We booked out seven of the school iPads. It was the first time that 5MJ had used them. Ms Jane asked the students to write a reflection about using the iPad app and how that has made a connection to our central idea for this geometry inquiry, “Geometric tools and methods can be used to solve problems relating to shape and space”.

The app was very useful as many groups found out that some of the angles in their house were not what they thought that they were.

After the students had finished their reflections, they posted them to their blogs and included the screen shots of their house models from the iPads. Ms Jane was very impressed with the reflection that Keaton wrote. She has sent his reflection to a new educational website about apps called Ms Jane was very excited to get a direct reply from that website saying that they thought that Keaton’s reflection was wonderful and they have published it on their site. Click here to read Keaton’s Reflection Online Congratulations Keaton!

"Grade 5 Student Reflection about Using the iPad A+ Measuring Finger App (by Keaton)

Today 5MJ finished building our model houses and we printed some labels that said things like acute angle, triangle, rectangle and all those sort of geometric names. Ms Jane found an app on the IPad called A+ Measuring Finger. We used it to measure our houses that we made. We went to the protractor section of the app and used it to take a picture of the house and then we drew the angles over that picture to measure them. It told us how many degrees it is.

There was a problem because we made this house with our hands so some of the angles that we thought were right angles were about 85 or 95 degrees. This means that those are not a true right angle. After that we found out that we have to take the picture straight otherwise when you try to draw the angle it will not be as accurate. We had to find four to five different kinds of angles such as acute, right, obtuse, straight and reflex. This app really helped us because now we know what angles are in our house and if they should be there or not.

We are now wondering when builders are building houses how do they measure the angle on the house that they are building. Do they have to carry a huge protractor to measure the house? When we were building the houses we had trouble keeping them straight and stable. I think that builders must have an easier way because they use metal in the middle and it is going straight up. Building with chopsticks it is hard to make it stay straight. Sometimes the way you put the elastic bands on is wrong and it pushes the chopstick to go at an angle that you don’t want it to be.

If we were using the app on the IPad during the building of our models, we would be able to make it straighter. We could measure it and then adjust it as we are doing the building. If our building bent in the wrong places it would fall down or the roof would fall through. The only reason we are trying to build a house is because it is part of our Maths inquiry. Our central idea is “Geometric tools and methods can be used to solve problems relating to shape and space”. Actually the main reason we are building a house is because we are hoping to build a 5×4 meter community house for the people at the Serpong landfill. Using geometric tools to build a house can help when you want to make the columns or the walls straight and so that you know what the angle of the roof is. Then you can work out how long the roof is and how many roof tiles or iron roofing you will need."

Here is the video that Ms Jane took of her lesson. Please watch it to learn about how we used the iPad app to measure the angles.


  1. Jane,
    You do such an amazing job at showing the learning and curiosity in your classroom - it inspires me to up the anti with my own classroom blog.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Kirsten Moss
    in Nanaimo, Canada

  2. Thanks Kirsten for you comment. I'd love to see your blog. Can you share the link?

  3. Very cool project. My Hong Kong kids use everyday math and I'm looking for ways to create authentic project assessments.

    We have a 1:1 too, but the students have MacBook Pros instead of iPads. I'm wondering how the angle measures might go. We have one class set of iTouches in the building. I'll see if we can get A+ Measuring finger onto the iTouches.

    I also like your integration of bamboo. Hong Kong uses bamboo when they build and repair skyscrapers.

    Anyway, looking forward to reading more.

    Janet |

  4. Very interesting classroom project. Promotes social awareness, math skills, teamwork, resourcefulness and creativity.