In this edition of the News you will find:
Working Mathematically in the Early Years
Feedback From Folks
Get to Know a Cameo
...Tower of Hanoi
Historic Record: USA
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- Feedback From Folks
- Sometimes teachers move on - to a new role in the school ...to another career ...to parenthood ... to retirement - and ask to be unsubscribed from our lists. Sometimes they add a little comment to the request, as Megan from W.A. did last month:
Thank you for the many years of great ideas!
Nice to know we're useful.
- Sometimes teachers respond to a news item, as Ian Lowe from the Mathematical Association of Victoria did last month when he read the item about the 241st (and last) Task Cameo being mounted:
This is a personal thank you from me but on behalf of a large number of teachers across the world. What you have achieved in your Mathematics Centre project, with the able assistance of Ina, is utterly amazing.
See Link List below for the Task Library which is an photo of each task linked to its teaching notes in the Task Cameo Library. Clicking a photo in the Task Library is just like selecting a book on a library shelf based on its spine, then opening it to browse the contents.
Along with yourself I have been keen to develop and promote 'a world of alternatives to text-based learning'. I am particularly impressed with the Task Cameos, as I make extensive use of them in my work with schools, but the creation of all of the tasks, and the professional learning that goes with them, has been something of which you can be very proud.
I am still finding schools to whom your work is unknown, and who are excited when they find it. This also applies to Calculating Changes, and your many other projects.
Best wishes and thanks again.
- Get to Know a Cameo ... Tower of Hanoi
The best versions of the problem involve monks and spikes and discs made of gold, but Matt's equipment was a little more down market. Still it was good enough to cause Amie Albrecht, Uni S.A., to ask about the source of his small size class set of equipment. Apparently she had very large ones which are a pain to lug around.
|Matt Skoss's work is what chose the cameo for this month. Matt has temporarily escaped his 30 year orbit of Alice Springs and is now working for AAMT on the reSolve: Maths by Inquiry project. He recently used Task 142, Tower of Hanoi, in a workshop. It's a classic problem with a long history in Eastern and Western cultures.
Three spikes. One has a number of discs stacked on it in descending order of size from the base. The challenge is to move the discs so they finish in the same sequence on another spike. There are of course rules for how they can be moved.
Matt shot an email around to a few contacts who might want to join a bulk purchase to bring the cost down (sometimes things that don't glisten cost gold). Matt's email included this piece of workshop feedback:
My favourite experience with Towers of Hanoi was a workshop in Adelaide featuring them about 10 years ago (at an ex-monastery!) with about 80 teachers. I'd done probably my best session ever in the day-long workshop with primary & secondary teachers. Everything flowed all day, and the group was really enthusiastic about working on some Maths.
Matt's email received a number of responses but this one from Damian Howison, St. Mary Mackillop College, Swan Hill, opens new doors.
At the end of the day, a lady came up to me and asked for permission to take a photo of one of my home-made sets. She then said her hubby wasn't gonna get dinner that night until he had made her a class set!
About 7:45 pm that night, I received a photo of the class set, with her hubby getting stuck into his dinner in the background of the photo! It was a very literal response to 'The 12 Day Challenge' I offer teachers in professional learning settings - to put 2-3 ideas into practice inside the next 12 days, 'cos after 12 days, you never will!
I have literally just returned from the Swan Hill Woodworkers Club with 50 sets of algebra blocks. I rocked up at their shed just last week where there were several "old fellas" doing different projects. I showed them one set of the blocks and said that I'd love another 50 sets of these because our others were quite depleted. They were only too happy to help and exactly one week later (today) phoned to let me know I could come around and pick up the blocks and a very modest bill.
Now there's a thought. Local Woodworkers Clubs and Men's Sheds could be approached to make one off, or class sets, of Tower of Hanoi and several other tasks. Scan your eye over the Task Library photos and see which ones could be crafted in this way. Schools would be supporting the community service these centres provide and the centres would be supporting the schools.
I'm only kicking myself I didn't go about it this way sooner.
And all the name dropping in this item - it's deliberate. If these teachers / mathematicians / educators / colleagues think Tower of Hanoi is a worth this effort to set up a learning experience, and that its mathematics belongs in a school curriculum, then perhaps we should all take another look at its cameo from the Link List below.
If you do, then as well as more information about the mathematics, there are a couple of surprises waiting for you.
- George Dimitriadis has provided a free software program he created himself which challenges your students to move any number of discs from 2-20.
- Karen Henry and Carolyn McGuigan, show of their rough, cute and lightweight alternative equipment.
More name dropping ... for the same reason.
- Historic Record: USA
Tidying up around the office turned up these newspaper cuttings from the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, April 10, 1997. Click each one to read a larger size image. Copyright for this newspaper is held by Little Rock Newspapers Inc.
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