tasks placed in schools during June.
Around 267,909 placed since the project began in June 1992.
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|The Big Picture
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|Notes from an
|Task of the Month
Task 2, Cars In A Garage
Geoff Giles died in Scotland on August 4th. The Task Centre Project is conscious of losing a valued friend and extends a blessing of peace to his wife, Bet Sampson, and his family.
Geoff's work was introduced to the MAV through a conference around 1974 on Recent Trends in British Mathematics Education. A few years later he was invited to be Keynote Speaker at the 1978 AAMT conference in Melbourne. The paper he prepared for that address is recorded in Learning & Applying Mathematics, papers of the 7th Biennial Conference of the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers. But these are words and, as such, a poor image of the spirit of a man who loved kids, loved mathematics, loved connecting kids and mathematics ... and demonstrated a significant degree of flexibility dancing a Scottish jig on the table at the conference dinner.
Geoff was passionate about all students having access to, and ownership of, mathematics. His creative, sometimes fiendish, mind developed scores of materials within the Fife Mathematics Project and, later, DIME Projects to support concrete, self-directed learning. His 1978 paper contains several examples, including an exploration of the transformation of shapes in a concrete hands-on situation which leads to the idea of, and need for, that most esoteric of secondary school mathematics concepts, Imaginary Numbers.
In partnership with Bet, Geoff took the Task Centre project under his wing in 1993 and became the British base for its work. He contributed many of his ideas and materials to the Project and his endowment will live on every time your students use Algebra Through Geometry, Octaflex, Tricubes, Angle Estimation, Rectangle Nightmare, and a range of other Project tasks. As recently as last year, although in his 80s, Geoff wrote a paper for us exploring the depth of Rectangle Nightmare.
Sharing his expertise was all that Geoff ever wanted to do. In the closing paragraph of his 1978 paper, he invited us all, and now invites us anew, to continue this process:
If this miscellaneous collection of bits and pieces has convinced you that mathematics in school can be made more interesting, accessible and understandable I will be happy. Should it also motivate you to work with others on the improvement of mathematics education in the classroom then I will be delighted. But please don't keep your insights to yourself. Share them and let them multiply.
Within the link there is also a PDF file (8 pages) which you are welcome to print and distribute to encourage interest in students learning to work like a mathematician in happy, healthy, cheerful, productive, inspiring classrooms.
There is great deal on this site to support teachers whose systems are moving towards an Essential Learning approach. In Victoria for example curriculum shift is towards the Victorian Essential Learning Standards (VELS) and many schools are noticing how consistent the Task Centre Project and its companion projects are with this direction.
But Sue didn't have to do all that labelling work. In around twenty minutes of the workshop day the staff worked as a team to...
The WM Curriculum Pack is only sold with Professional Development. Peter took the opportunity to share the workshop with local schools and had 30 participants on the day. The surrounding schools were happy to pay for their teachers to attend. This financial contribution has left Peter with sufficient funding to provide post-workshop teacher release for his staff so they can 'strike while the iron is hot' to finalise the implementation of their resources.
Creative financing ... and everyone is happy.
I was reminded of the Glaeser's dominoes when Kath Cross (another retired inspector) introduced the problem below at a recent ATM workshop in Leicester.
CHESS BOARD PROBLEMS
Take a chess board and a set of 32 dominoes, of matching size! It is relatively easy to see that the board can be completely covered by the dominoes.
As a young teacher of mathematics I collected problems and kept them in what I called a commonplace book. I used this book as fill-ins: for kids who had finished, homework, starters, mains and the rest. It contained one of my all time favourite puzzles about dominoes but the book was lost. Many years later I found the puzzle on a poster at the then West London Institute of Higher Education. So the puzzle again found a place of honour in my inspector's notebook.
George Glaeser of Strasbourg put a set of dominoes, more or less randomly in a flat tray and took a photograph. The exposure was not correct, and although the numbers could be discerned, the positions of the dominoes could not.3 6 2 0 0 4 4 6 5 5 1 5 2 3 6 1 1 5 0 6 3 2 2 2 0 0 1 0 2 1 1 4 3 5 5 4 3 6 4 4 2 2 4 5 0 5 3 3 4 1 6 3 0 1 6 6
19 July 2005