I have been a big fan of Ruth Beatty's approach to teaching patterning and algebra for a long time, since Ruth came to our school and led a workshop.
Now this year, we have had the chance to retire my old Powerpoint, adapted from Ruth's own file, and replace it with her brand new text. I was happy to see that our Math CI was going to use this resource, for many reasons.
But it has led to far more fun that we ever anticipated.
As the students explore the relationship between patterns and algebraic expressions to do with slope, they work with tiles to represent growing patterns. To begin the unit, one of our first-year teachers projected the first tile pattern onto her Smartboard. Time to build the rocket pattern. Time to examine what is growing and what is staying the same. Two yellow tiles form the base and are the constants. Extending upwards are five red tiles.
Shouts of hilarity echoed around the classroom. “It’s a penis!” they shouted.
The teacher got them settled down. Sort of. But then she showed them the second pattern. Now multiplication has taken place. The single column of red tiles is now two tiles wide.
ROFL? It was literal.The students were hysterical with laughter as they screamed, “It’s growing, it’s thicker!”
This is perhaps not the exact response Ruth was aiming for.
Personally, I blame Minecraft. Our students are addicted and have spent many hours creating blocky and complex universes.
I have to say it is true. The rocket pattern looks exactly how a Minecraft penis would appear.Or maybe we are onto something - it is subject integration: math, tech and health!