Wednesday, 19 March 2014 the Classroom? - Year 12 Prevocational Maths

I recently started a unit with my Year 12 Prevoc class, with the theme being 'renovation' and the maths behind it being measurement/geometry.  I have been wanting to try and be more outgoing/creative, especially as these are students who benefit from engaging, 'fun' tactics, and this lesson went pretty well, so I thought I would share it.


  • students recall different shapes
  • students can recognise them in their environment
  • students can learn to connect a shape with its area formula

For our first lesson for this unit, I asked them to name the basic geometric shapes they could think of (basic ones, not all 'regular' shapes, as these can be made from the 'basic' ones).  We ended up with: rectangle, square, triangle, trapezium and circle.  I then asked if they knew any of the area formulas for these shapes, and for those they didn't know I wrote them.  Students copied all shapes and formulas for the purpose of reference.

Our buildings aren't this...pointy

I asked students to work in pairs and go around the school grounds 'Shape Hunting'.  They had to find at least 2 examples of each of the basic shapes (bonus points in the Realm of Learning if they got 2 triangles or more) from around the school, record them and come back within a certain time limit.  Year 12 students are often wary of 'gimmicks' and 'childish games', but the students enjoyed the chance to get out of the classroom and find something.

When students returned, I gave the first few groups to return extra points, and when all had returned, I asked them where they found all of their shapes.  Students expressed interest in how easy it was, and how prevalent the shapes were.  I explained that the point is to see the basic geometric parts in things to make them solvable/usable.

Not a very deep learning experience, but appropriate for the opening of a unit.  Getting the students out and about, working independent of the teacher, engages students who might be visual, kinaesthetic or naturalistic learners as seen in Bloom's revised taxonomy (Frangenheim, 2005) and gives them a chance to show how responsible they can be (because sometimes year 12 boys aren't so much with the 'responsibility').  Also, we've recently done PD at our school that discussed the idea of giving students a chance to 'wake up' by stretching, moving around during a long class, as it helps to keep them engaged and work longer.  It was a fun idea and I've decided to try something similar for later in the unit.


Good orientating phase lesson, kids enjoyed it, actually made them think a little.

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