I’m doing an EBD (Education By Design) with 7th and 6th graders. In order to understand the difficulty I showed them a building and asked them to draw an outline of it.
The building was polygonal in shape. They had a great time with that building and it had taught them a lot. For example – meter conversion, angles. At last them came up with its outline as shown in the figure.
Though it was small, it gave them some confidence and clarity on what they are trying to do. We need to measure the length of a fence. But that was covered by plants,
On another day, we need to measure the length of a fence. But that was covered by plants, bushes and trees and it was not straight too. So it was little difficult to measure it. We had a discussion on how to go about it. I raised few questions every time they came up with some solutions to that situation. They realized every solution has its own drawback after analyzing it. So I thought that would be the perfect time to introduce the Pythagoras theorem for practical use.
I calculated the length of a tree without measuring it directly. They were amazed. They said that they want to know how I did it. I told them but it was little hard for them to understand as they didn’t know anything about square and square root.
I have used Dennis cubes to learn square, square root, cube and cube root. After that, I have used a simple and fast method the find out the square root. Children felt it was like a game and that went well too. using the Pythagoras theorem they measured that place height and base. With that, it was easy for them to find out the fence length.
They have used both measuring tape and distance meter.