Friday, December 6, 2013

Mazes! (October)

     Between our two classes, we had a total of 15 students due to a field trip with our QuEST kids. Today we combined classes to do an engineering/math project with the kids. After reading Theseus and the Minotaur we looked at some of the local corn mazes from our area. We also looked at how labyrinths were slightly different than mazes.

We discussed the idea of scale.  We looked at blueprints and found the scale which indicated 1/4 inch equaled 1 foot.  We saw how if we measured those lines we could multiply to find the length the builder should use.  I gave the kids centimeter graph paper and let them sketch their possibilities, but this proved very difficult.  I switched gears and showed them how to make the path and then add in fake paths.  They seemed to understand this better.  They also had the limit of 200 feet of paracord per group so they couldn't go over that amount.

     Once the kids were finished sketching their mazes each group chose one for their team to build and we headed outside. 

     Each team had 200 feet of paracord, staples for tarps and garden weed preventing fabric. They also brought out our measuring tapes, mallets, scissors and highlighters.  The highlighters turned out to be very useful because the students would highlight the lines they put on the ground so they wouldn't get confused. 

     Ninety degree angles proved challenging too because at first they just sort of estimated.  One group decided to use the box the staples came in as a guide (note to self..... get four right angle tools for next year).  It ended up being a fairly reasonable solution. 

     A couple of groups had to pull up part of their finished work when the measurement didn't quite work. One group wasn't measuring accurately, and another miscounted their blueprint and hand to go back. 

      It is rather hard to see, but the following pictures are of the kids in their finished mazes.  They were hot, but incredibly proud.

     Next year I'll probably teach this with area and perimeter (it happens during a colder part of the year), but otherwise I was quite impressed with the kids work, and ability to measure. 

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