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Learning Maths Outside the Classroom - Monuments

This page has been archived. The content was correct at the time of original publication, but is no longer updated.
Created on 30 April 2008 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 21 October 2010 by ncetm_administrator
Built Environment and HeritageBuilt Environment and Heritage
Year Four children at Corbridge Primary School, began their project with a visit to Newcastle and Gateshead to view some examples of public art along with guide, sculptor Richard Broderick.

On an extremely windy day in January children visited The Angel of the North, Vulcan, the giant hand entitled ‘Reaching for the stars’ alongside the older monuments of ‘The Mucky Angel’ in the Haymarket and Greys monument in the centre of the city.



Children were asked to estimate and measure using a variety of equipment, circumferences, and perimeters and to attempt to calculate the heights of the various edifices. They were encouraged to have a go and come up with their own solutions as to the best way, working in teams to solve the different challenges.

 Video Clip 'Sculpture with Richard Broderick'

In the Laing Art gallery they were introduced to an interesting painting where a sculpture is seen to break through the roof of a gallery space . Children were asked to create their own pieces of public art and to calculate the space that would be needed to properly exhibit them.
Once back in the classroom children were visited by civil engineer John Loader who had been part of the team responsible for making the Angel of the North stand firm against the stern North Eastern elements.

He challenged the children to make the tallest structure they could using only spaghetti and marshmallows.

 Video Clip 'Building Towers with John Loader'

Lots of discussion and debate took place to establish the properties of the strongest and most successful building. John showed the children slides and footage of the erection of huge buildings and bridges and the importance of the application of mathematics in this process.

He brought a maquette of the Vulcan which was exactly one fifth the size of the finished sculpture by famous artist Paolozzi. The children were asked to calculate from the model the actual sizes.

Throughout the project children were introduced to a range of equipment including clinometers and trundle wheels and were set many varied and stimulating tasks. Work on scale and ratio to enable children to build models two, five and ten times as big as initial maquettes proved extremely successful with children engrossed in tasks which they didn’t even perceive as ‘work’ and certainly not maths! An iron man was constructed in the classroom with children collaborating in groups to ensure that all pieces connected and were of the appropriate size.

The final assessment showed enormous strides in the children’s understanding and application of measurement. Their ability to select appropriate equipment for a task and to judge and estimate distances and measurements accurately improved astonishingly.





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