The Pinewood Maths department is always looking for new ways to demonstrate, visualise and explain mathematical concepts and ideas. This year, a number of the department have been exploring possible uses of “Maths Sticks” which are naturally grown, straight(ish) sticks of varying colour-coded lengths. The shortest is green and measures 10cm. A triple green stick is therefore 30cm, and we have varying lengths all the way up to a 2 metre teacher stick, (even including, of course, a yard stick!).
Recently, members of Year 6 were exploring rotations, reflections and translations in the school grounds on a gorgeous early spring day. Using the different length sticks, they were able to create shapes and look at the methods for transforming these shapes, using ideas such as congruence, centres of rotation, mirror lines and vectors. In the feedback session at the end, the children found them fun to use, something different, and they liked the way they could be moved without need for an eraser, and the activities really helped them to visualise transformations.
Other uses of the maths sticks include:
Order of operations
Visualising the product of two brackets
Dividing algebraic fractions
Angles in a triangle
Properties of quadrilaterals
Coordinates and straight line graphs
And I am sure we will be able to add a few more by the end of the year!