Maths Resource of the Week 26


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Stacking Boxes

  • A challenging and fun investigation.
  • What is it? - With the demise of Maths Coursework, there is the danger that students do not get exposed to open-ended, challenging projects only to be caught out when a question that requires analytical skills and independent thought appears on their exam. This is likely to happen more now with the arrival of the more challenging and functional GCSE. Fitting projects/investigations like this into the Key Stage 3 or 4 curriculum are essential to help students develop these all important skills, and also to engage them in mathematics. This investigation revolves around stacking boxes against a wall. Like all classic maths investigations, its starts off nice and easy, being accessible to all, but then the addition of more boxes will provide a significant challenge to even the most able of students. What is particularly nice about this resource is the accompanying ICT element. Alongside detailed, well structured planning sheets there are excellent shockwave files which allow students to easily experiment with different combinations of boxes. It is amazing how just a little ICT interaction can boost students’ levels of motivation and engagement.
  • How could it be used? - This project would lend itself very nicely to students working in pairs over three one hour lessons. With the ICT element, it would also be ideal if the students could have access to a computer for at least one of the lessons. A nice way to end any project like this is for students to present their finding to the rest of the class in a two minute presentation. Students often find this difficult and daunting, but the presentation skills that this develops can be added to the bundle of other important skills that are nurtured and tested throughout this excellent project.
  • How have you used this resource? - Please share your ideas below.
  • Uploaded by NGfLCymru

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