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.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Going Further With Bamboo

Did you know that bamboo can grow between 3 and 10 centimeters a day! (Wikipedia:

Today in class 5MJ learned about how the Green School in Bali was built using traditional methods. Here is a club house made by the Grade 7 and 8 students from the Green School. We looked at how they use many bamboo lengths to add strength to the structure.

We finished off our Community house designs. Here are some photos of the students building them.

Shereen compared her house with Marcello’s house. She tried using the Green School technique and added more bamboo for her columns. Shereen's house is very stable, but Marcelo used struts (to make a strong triangle shape between the roof joins to the columns) to add stability. This is more cost effective.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Traditional Architects

Did you know that in Bali, traditionally buildings were designed by making a miniature version? When I first visited the Green School in Bali, I met with John Hardy the owner. He told me that the huge buildings in the middle of the campus were made the traditional way. These buildings are made entirely out of bamboo. The buildings were designed by making a miniature version first. This is similar to how 5MJ is making a model of the Community Building for the Serpong Landfill.

You can see the real one being built in the background. At the Green School, the Grade 7 and 8 students are making their own clubhouse. You can see the photos on a Slideshare that I embedded just before this post. Notice the construction of the roof. The bamboo has to be close together to make sure that the grass on the roof can be tied down and made waterproof!!

Monday, 12 December 2011

Designing a Community Building for the Serpong Landfill

5MJ have begun putting into action their intent to build a community building for the Serpong Landfill. They are starting to create a design for a community building. First the students talked about the building and what it could be used for. The class decided that they could probably raise about 3 million rupiah by holding some market days.

Next the class worked with Ms Agnes to measure the two traditional buildings in the SWA playground.

In class the students sat in the shared area to try to decide how big the building needs to be. We decided that 4 meters by 5 meters could fit about 20 people comfortably and possibly come under our budget of 3 million rupiah. But we don’t know for sure …

Now that we have the dimensions, the students created a detailed drawing for homework. In the meantime we have started working on the design in Sketch Up. We have been really using our geometry skills. In Sketch Up we learned about components, using the protractor, measure the sides accurately, rotation, alignment, axis and units.

After thinking about it. Ms Jane decided that Google Sketch Up wasn’t working because the students didn’t understand the concept of form. The students needed to work in 3D. Sketch Up is working in virtual and the students really needed to understand 3D by touching and seeing it in front of them. We needed to try to build it …

Today in class we started making structures using bamboo chopsticks. Ms Jane bought a lot of chopsticks so that we could learn about the form. Together with a partner, we began making the structure.

It was fun and very challenging! All the students have written a blog post about what they did and what they learned.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Installing a Liter of Light at the Serpong Landfill

On the second visit to the Landfill, the Liter of Light group installed 2 Liter of Lights in two houses. The students in this group also surveyed the houses at the Landfill to find out how many more houses wanted the lights installed.

Here is the video showing what happened ...

Friday, 9 December 2011

The Project Presentations

On Friday the 2nd of December, the class presented their three projects to parents and teachers.

The awareness campaigns had many benefits:

1. Share the students’ knowledge and understanding

2. Help synthesize ideas for their project, and give it direction

3. Announce their intentions to a wider audience

4. Affirm a commitment to help the landfill community

The class had spent the major part of three days getting their awareness campaign together including slogans, a logo design and a central question. Each team spoke to the audience for about 6 minutes, using keynotes, slideshows and iMovies to aid their presentations. Each member of the team prepared their own speech.

After the talks, each team had project boards to talk about and they spent time explaining everything to their visitors. These project boards showed photos, copies of emails, instructions, reflections, ideas for improvements in the Landfill etc. It was impressive to see how well the students could demonstrate what they had gained from their inquiries – a testament to real-life learning!

Each group in turn outlined their plans for possible solutions. In some cases action had already taken place and this gave an opportunity to tell about the outcome of that action.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Second Visit to the Serpong Landfill

This afternoon we went back to the local landfill area. The students were now firmly divided into three “camps” – the water group, the shelter group and the liter of light group. Each group had been working hard in class time to prepare further questions and to find out as much helpful background information as they could, much of it related to mathematics. For example, the shelter group actually measured out the dimensions of an average shelter in the piazza, and they planned to build a scale model although they haven’t decided which materials they will use. The water group measured out a distance and carried water backwards and forwards to see how far they could carry their water. The liter of light team looked at costings for tiles and special cement. Maths, maths, maths!

Here’s the field trip schedule:

  • meet the RT (head man)
  • divide into groups to ask questions, each with a teacher supervisor
  • measure, count, calculate
  • share food and drinks, and give out the laminated Comic Life posters

The liter of light group and the water group prepare their questions. Giuseppe has the trundle wheel to measure the distance that the water is carried.

Mr Rick tried to carry the 30 liters of water up the slippery slope. It was hard work!

Here you can see Mr Rick talking to the RT about the water problems that face this community.

The shelter group ask a lot of questions about what the buildings are made of.

Below you can see one of the water bottles in the roof. We needed a sunnier day to see how well the light will work under the best conditions. But so far, so good! Take a look at the photo - it was still very bright considering how cloudy it was!

Below is the bottle embedded in the roof of the house.