...some NANAMIC conference activities
At the NANAMIC conference in York this summer Joe Murray shared three excellent activities to engage and support learners with some topics that often prove difficult – trigonometry, simultaneous equations and algebra.
Trig revision cards
Most errors come from choosing the wrong trig ratio despite learners’ knowing how to perform the calculation correctly. This activity aims to generate paired talk and peer support.
There are 32 problem cards to be sorted into four sets according to whether the calculation needed involves the sine, cosine, tangent or Pythagoras theorem.
Each group can then be further sorted into whether the solution seeks a length or an angle. For the Pythagoras group, the sort will be whether to find the hypotenuse or another side.
Many errors with simultaneous equations arise from students’ attempts to equate coefficients for elimination. This activity looks at an intuitive approach with visual shapes, counters, cubes, etc.
Through discussion, sharing and reasoning, students can grasp a better awareness of what is needed and will then proceed to a solution.
There are ten visual problems.
- the red and blue ones are planned to be easier to solve by comparing rods and eliminating and concentrating on the “differences” left.
- the green and yellow cards offer more challenging problems.
Questions and prompts may focus thinking:
“Why were the blue and red cards easier?”
“What is the difference between each set of blue and red squares?...and between the numbers?”
“Why are the green and yellow cards more difficult?”
“What could you do to make them as easy as the blue and red ones?”
“Do the numbers change?”
Finally there is a set of simultaneous equations to solve which match the two sets of “rods”...but don’t tell the students!!
2 by 2 algebra mysteries
Based on a 2 by 2 grid, this simple mystery engages ideas of collecting terms, summing expressions and algebraic reasoning. There are 4 mysteries to try.
Each mystery problem comprises six or seven clue cards with information on how to complete the 2 by 2 grid and provide a good task for a pair to work on as part of renewing basic algebra skills.