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Simple lesson ideas: Getting maths into geography.

Many people feel that it’s easy to link to literacy in their subject, but not maths.  Personally, I think that’s a bonkers position and to do with the misconceptions of what maths is.  Maths has a large problem solving  and puzzle element and a very diverse discipline, which makes it ripe for subverting into many lessons.  I also worry that many teachers may not tackle maths within class as their own confidence is lacking.  This mindset can rub off on young people which is a problem.  This isn't about Ofsted criteria but ensuring that our kids understand stuff like how much they'd get ripped off by Wonga.com.  Of course, maths should only be linked to when it's appropriate and is no different from any other teaching and learning tool / strategy / method.  As my school has a whole-school maths focus this year, I am thinking about how to get more problem solving / puzzle maths into lessons more and more.  I also like talking about geography as I feel like I know what I'm talking about....

Here is a starter I used with Year 7.  They could resize the triangles, rotate them and change them to any type of triangle they liked. Using four triangles reinforced the four countries of the United Kingdom too.  Students doodled in the back of their books.  I preferred this method over given them laminated shapes as it underlined the fact that there was no right answer and encouraged experimentation.  In classic style, some kids were chosen at random to scribble their creations on the board.  The outline map provided a visual scaffold.

2013-11-08 10.07.01

I was pleased with how the activity went, and it also reinforced the skills of sketch mapping.  This could be easily adapted - continents, countries...

For completeness, the lesson then headed outside to use our senses to identify weather variables, a consideration of where we can get weather information from (from phone apps to our own weather stations) and then one of my favourite activities - playing the BBC Weather forecast on silent and getting the students to identify the features of a good forecast and trying to write the script.  The lesson then considered the storm (more on this in a future lesson) and allowed the class to create their own 30 second descriptions of the prevailing weather conditions to develop literacy.  You can find a description here that references FotoBabble.

I have to say that I know how spoilt I was in terms of access to technology (especially handheld devices) at my last place, so the activities have to be adapted.  This isn't a bad thing, but does make sharing the outcomes more troublesome.

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