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ICT Integration: Description of teaching episode

Gold coast panorama

This entry will provide a description of a teaching episode designed for a Year 12 Mathematical Applications class. The teaching is focused on similar figures and scale factors, and their applications, mainly in mensuration. The task I will describe provides an opportunity for students to engage in a task designed to allow a series of guided investigations using computer software.

Specifically, students will be using measurement tools in the Google Earth software package to determine heights of buildings based on the lengths of the shadows that they cast. In this kind of mathematical problem, an object of known height is necessary (typically a meter stick or a persons height is used).

In this task, the known height is that of the Q1 buliding, Australia’s tallest building, and the tallest residential building in the world (according to wikipedia) however any known building or structure height (possibly near by the school) could be used. I chose this building for a number of reasons.

  • It has that ‘Guinness Book ‘ feel to it and is relatively well known.
  • The link between the Gold Coast, apartment accommodation, and ‘Schoolies Week’ (which is fast approaching) makes this task thematically interesting for students.
  • Information on the height of the Q1 building is readily available on the internet
  • The Q1 building is available to view as a ‘3D Building’ in Google Earth
  • This geographical area features a high density of high-rise structures with clear, obscured shadows cast onto relatively flat ground.

Google Earth screenshot

As seen in the screen capture above, the necessary features (shadow lengths) are clearly visible and relatively well defined.

The teaching episode will take place in a one hour lesson at the end of a unit on similar triangles. I will revise the theory and model a problem on the board (unfortunately I don’t have access to an IWB for this lesson, which would be ideal), after which students will be working in small groups on computers to solve a series of problems which have been set, and to create and solve some problems of their own. Students will be encouraged to extend this method to measure objects of interest to them. Suggestions of buildings around the college, monuments in Canberra, and a tower in a local shopping centre will be made but are suggestions for the unimaginative and not strict guidelines. Students will be encouraged to communicate their ideas to me and their peers via a table on the board, where the height of various objects are tabulated.

  1. May 7, 2010 at 7:19 am

    Very exciting use of tech — looking forward to reading more!

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