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# Learning Maths Outside the Classroom - LOCI

This page has been archived. The content was correct at the time of original publication, but is no longer updated.
Created on 11 July 2008 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 21 October 2010 by ncetm_administrator

# LOCI

In order to assess potential benefits of teaching outside, the topic of loci was approached with a class of able year eights. The one-hour lesson delivered was designed as an introduction to loci.

The lesson had two parts, one where ‘typical’ paper based questions were simulated on the grass on the school campus using walls of buildings, ropes and cones as markers and the other half being back in the classroom relating what they had done outside to more standard question types. The class was split into smaller groups and were given simple instructions such as to stand a fixed distance from a cone or wall and given time to work in a team to discover the correct positions to stand, making instant adjustments without the need for rubbers and messy work.

Click here for the video clip 'Pupils engaged in LOCI activity 1

Click here for the vldeo clip 'Pupils engaged in LOCI activity 2

The students would seem to have benefited from this type of practical introduction to this particular topic. There were three small indicators, which I picked up as the leader of the lesson, which are evidence for the avoidance of misconceptions. The use of the walls as barriers seemed particularly useful, where students working on paper would ordinarily just have a rule where the locus could only be on one side of the line and not the other. Students in the session actually could not pass through the wall and very naturally formed a semi-circle rather than a full circle, which is common observation in early classroom teaching.

Click here for the video clip 'Pupils engaged in LOCI activity 3

Click here for the vldeo clip 'Pupils engaged in LOCI activity 4

It became clear when asked to stand a fixed distance from a cone as a whole group that some method of ensuring the same radius was maintained throughout. A nice practical idea of using a second rope as a compass was suggested which I hope would go some way as to help students understand when to use a compass in answering paper questions which is a common problem when first approaching this topic. It was also nice when the class saw that they had to move as a perpendicular line bisector as the position of two cones were moved subtly when asked to hold an equidistant position to them. This particular exercise gave me ideas for future lessons later in the unit with links to properties of circles and constructing the bisectors outside with taught ropes as compass arms.

Back in the classroom, students did some good work with matching diagrams to loci descriptions, even designing their own descriptions to match situations they had seen outside.

The second part of the session demonstrated a confidence with a topic that can often leave some students baffled from the outset. In introducing this topic outside I found the students to have a better grasp of the concepts and a much more practical understanding than is usually attained within the confines of the classroom. Not only that, but the students really enjoyed the lesson and have had a positive experience of a topic that is commonly perceived as difficult.

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