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Welcome to my math blog! The purpose of this blog is to help you stay informed about our learning and experiences that have taken place during our math class. I have also included links your child (and you) may want to use in order to supplement math learning in 5th grade.

Monday, April 3, 2017

STEAM: Geometric Sewing (Line Designs)

Every year after taking our Math STAAR test, I like to give my kids a little mathematical art therapy!  It begins with the Kaleidoscopic Octagon, which emphasizes rotational and reflectional symmetry.  Then, we move into geometric sewing.  Basically, this is line design with string.  

Line designs form a basis for mathematical understanding of geometric shapes and relationships of points, segments, and angles. Each of the line segments is really a tangent for each of the curves being formed. But because of what we focus on, we often see the curves. For example, some of the curves that can be created are circles, parabolas, ellipses, hyperbolas, spirals, and some lesser known curves called cardioids, limacons, and deltoids. Yet in each case they were created with angles of different sizes, regular and irregular polygons, and a lot of segments and points.

Today, we began by preparing our sewing surface.  I gave each student an 8"x 8" piece of tagboard.  I also gave them each a pattern from a book that is no longer in print titled "String Art...10 Basic Designs."  In fact, it is from so long ago the patterns were originally to be run on a ditto machine!  The patterns may be old, but the excitement is always new!

Once we have cut out the pattern and taped it onto our tagboard, I gave each student a stick pin and and old mouse pad.  This may be my students' favorite part... we put the tagboard down onto the mouse pad and use the stick pin to poke a hole into every dot on the pattern.  I have learned, after YEARS of practice, that pre-poking the holes leads to fewer injuries with needles!

Next, it was time to teach my students how to thread a needle.  There is one rule I have during this entire project... I DO NOT THREAD NEEDLES!

It takes a while to learn how to thread a needle, but I have a very cool way of teaching my students how to thread a needle that involves using tape to make an aglet.  I learned about aglets while watching Phineas and Ferb.   They even have an A-G-L-E-T Song!  

Then, we created our aglet:

Once we had our needle on our thread, the time was up! AARGH!  We sew tomorrow!

STEAM is an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking. The end results are students who take thoughtful risks, engage in experiential learning, persist in problem-solving, embrace collaboration, and work through the creative process. These are the innovators, educators, leaders, and learners of the 21st century!  (http://educationcloset.com/steam/what-is-steam/

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