An idea for using ICT in the classroom
Using digital photos to explore transformations
The ease with which we can all take digital photos offers a highly motivating opportunity to draw students’ attention to the mathematics in their environment, and to provide some relevance and purpose to their learning.
By importing photographs into a range of different software, it is possible to highlight and transform by dragging or using the software’s specific features in a way that develops students’ understanding of mathematical transformations in an active way.
Begin by importing an appropriate photo by copying and pasting it into the software and ‘locking’ it to the background.
Within an interactive whiteboard package you can:
Highlight the unit of tessellation – in this case a single rectangle. Use a shape tool to recreate the rectangle over the top of the picture.
If you are focussing on translation, you can ‘clone’ the rectangle to create a pile and drag them individually to highlight the rectangles that are mathematical translations of the original rectangle.
If you are focussing on rotation, you can rotate the rectangle. However, it is useful to know that most Interactive Whiteboard Software does not let you specify the centre of rotation. This is where a different ICT tool might be better!
The same photograph within a dynamic geometry package would still allow you to identify a rectangular brick. But the software’s features would also allow students to apply a grid underneath the picture to enable translations to be explored using a nominal scale.
Alternatively, both rotation and reflection can be explored using normal mathematical conventions. Students can be set the challenge to recreate the brick pattern using combinations of transformations.