Friday, December 11, 2015

Week 14 -- Fractals!

In math we've been looking at fractals. We watched a great Nova program. Personally, I find many aspects of mathematics beautiful but, none more pleasing aesthetically. The film uses examples of computer animation and Star Wars [although, it's episode Six <shudder>] as irresistible hooks it the attention centers of the tween mind.

My small math group made a Fractal Tree out of Sierpinski Triangles and a small branching fractal, you can see it in the 5-6 Commons. We discussed adding another row of pages, but the six kids in class was the exact number needed for each to make one of the right-side up triangles for a three-row "tree".


Friday, December 4, 2015

Week 13 -- Why'd You Have to Go and Make Things So Complicated?

....because we're talking about the real world and not some carefully selected cross section picked to highlight some specific concept.

In part because of rehearsals for the play, this week has been lower on written assignments and heavier on discussion and research.

We've begun our look at our next theme: Systems. We're taking a look at the political, social and economic systems of various European and Middle-Eastern countries, with a specific eye toward the refugee crisis in Syria.

One of the my favorite kid comments this week led to the title of this post. In response to this video:
A child said something to the effect of, "All of this is really complicated and it doesn't really make sense, why can't we just look at one piece at a time."
It's a reasonable response to a hideously involved, situation with it's roots in 1500+ years of religious, social and cultural conflict. However, it is something that we can tease a lot out of.
Regardless, instead of teaching a lesson about European Geography and asking kids to fill out an endless line of blank maps, the kids are developing a real sense of what countries are why as they think about the flow of refugees through Europe.

To further our understanding of European governments, we took a detour to look a little bit at our own.
My initial attempt to explain the EU and the flow of refugees got complex.

In math class, we've been discussing proportions. Here Maddy is explaining how to solve one.