Somerset Times

Year 8 Mathematics - Beyond The Classroom

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Somerset Times Edition

Week 6,
Term Three, 2016

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Mathematical learning is founded on the precept that, in the face of ever-changing contexts, young people need to become authentic, autonomous learners. They need to develop an understanding of what is required to be problem solvers, who can continue to adapt to and engage with the demands of an ever-changing, complex society, within a global context.

In making connections with the world and with other subject areas, students in the Middle Years are exploring learning outside the classroom by applying their knowledge to real-life cases.

Recently, the Year 8 Mathematics classes have been studying co-ordinate geometry. Students were able to apply the skills they developed by acting as certifiers and checking that the gradients of newly built stairways and access ramps around the College were within the limits as defined by legislation. Students measured the rise and the run of ramps and stairs and calculated the gradient. They also checked for consistency of stair sections to confirm each step was within tolerance with each other over the range of steps. Fortunately, all areas tested were found to fall within acceptable limits! Students were able to see one of the many real-life applications of gradients and discuss why there are acceptable limits and what the consequences of structures not being within these limitations might be.

In extending mathematical learning beyond the physical confines of the classroom, teachers in the Middle Years enable students to develop their own questions and lines of inquiry, whilst at the same time applying the skills and understandings they developed in the classroom.

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