An idea for the classroom - MangaHigh
Do you have those sorts of days where things happen in threes, like buses? Last week, as I was driving to school I heard Professor Marcus du Sautoy talking about the new on-line resource MangaHigh - he says in the introductory paragraph:
“For me doing mathematics has always been like playing a game. At MangaHigh we've been working hard to bring out the playful side of maths while ensuring that students get the essential skills to master this important subject.”
The second event was receiving an email telling me that the NCETM community had begun to talk about it.
By the time I had also received an email from a colleague telling me his score on BIDMAS Blaster, I decided that I had better have a look for myself.
I started off by playing a quick game of ‘Pyramid Panic’ – and that’s exactly what I did! A rather spindly mummy is trying to find its way out of the pyramid, helped by my solving some problems related to area and perimeters of shapes. Despite being a fairly competent mathematician (I hope) I did rather panic as some nasty monster chased the mummy and had the satisfaction of eating it (me?) several times.
Having decided that I was not cut out for scary monster games (it's not that scary – I think most 15 year olds would sleep soundly) I thought that ‘Flower Power’ might appeal to the softer side of my nature. Indeed this is a more peaceful sort of game where large flower stems grow decimals or fractions which needed to be ordered on the stem. It did get a bit difficult when there were lots of stems that needed ordering, but the flowers just withered if they were not in the right place.
Although these games were quite enjoyable, I was slightly disappointed that they provided contexts in which to practise some previously learned mathematics rather than creating a situation which required the use of some mathematics in order to solve the problem.
Perhaps you could have a go at BIDMAS Blaster and tell us what you think?