Following the outcomes of our national Maths curriculum, I had to make sure that my students (aged 14-16) learn how to interpret data and make charts with frequency tables. They had already used Europeana for research on ancient Rome while working on a maths-history project about numerals. Therefore, I found this learning scenario a perfect extension of using cultural heritage in an engaging activity. I have implemented it in two of my maths classes, each consisting of 21 students.
The narrative – music video
I didn’t change much in the first part of the original learning scenario, I just added a few worksheets. Thus the students started with watching the YMCA music video. They liked it very much, they all moved to the rhythm and some of them even started copying the dance moves. It was a great motivator for doing maths exercises afterwards. Before watching the video they got ‘directing questions’ on data handling. They needed to count how many times YMCA is pronounced, how many times the singers raise their hands, etc…
Practices and matches
After a short discussion, students made a chart with data from the video. It was a great way of showing them that mathematics could be found all around us. They continued with a poster from Greek athletics and tasks in the original scenario, but before data handling, they needed to write down different ratios for sports and data based on the poster.
In this implementation, the students did not build a robot, but they made a connection with something else. After looking at the ballerina poster and writing down a mathematical fact, they watched the video about physics behind the ‘fouque’ move in ballet.
I succesfully used this learning scenario for the introduction of angular momentum in physics.
The students were able to:
- handle data given in various forms (watching the video, reading the poster)
- collect, summarise, display and critically analyse data in order to draw conclusions and make predictions, and to interpret it (drawing bar charts, frequency tables and answering the questions about the sports mentioned in the poster)
- make sense of data (when pointing out the maths facts from the ballerina posters)
- use mathematics effectively and critically
- see the connection between dance and physics (watching the ballerina video)
- observe the relationship between torque and angular momentum
It was a great experience to connect the maths unit on data handling with something engaging like cultural heritage and dance. The students successfully used the Europeana Collections, they even continued searching for various things, not related to the tasks. It was a positive boost for using digital heritage more often in my maths classes.
Did you find the story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario:
STEM in Sports and Dance by Sarah Camilleri Dimech
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