Let’s Go Fly a Kite

Posted: May 14, 2016 in Uncategorized

The past few weeks in PreAP 7th Grade Mathematics has been used to look at the Pythagorean Theorem. I introduced the unit to my students by saying,

“A lot of teachers would teach this to you by giving you a formula and telling you to plug numbers in. However, I’m not going to teach that way.”

Some students were excited, some were upset. I know that some students are more formula driven while some are more explorative. I enjoy using AIMS The Pythagorean Relationship when teaching the theorem. It allows students to first see the squares around the triangles and then build the understanding of the formula themselves.

After students had gone through the understanding, I wanted to try something that I saw Tyler Cronin post on Twitter having students flying a kite while using the Pythagorean theorem. My first thought? A song got stuck in my head. So I played the following for the class.

Kids were excited to watch the video and some even knew the song! Then I told them that we would go fly a kite.

I found kites on Amazon that were not too expensive. I got them pretty quick. They are small in size and not that expensive, so I wasn’t sure how well they would fly. . . but they did great!

Besides having some difficulties with the wind not staying steady, it went pretty well. The conversations that I was having with students was great! Some students wanted to keep the string short so that they could work quicker. The kite wasn’t flying so well and a student said, “If we fly it higher, there is more wind, so it will stay up better.” Wait, that’s not math . . . but I loved how that input helped the group see success.

Other conversations that I had included the transcript below.

  • Student: We’re trying to find the height.
  • Me: Correct.
  • Student: So the ground from the person holding the kite and the person under the kite is a leg. The string is the hypotenuse, so we’re trying to find a leg?
  • Me: Correct.
  • Student: After we find those measurements then we square the numbers and we take the answer of the hypotenuse and subtract the leg?
  • Me: Correct.
  • Student: Ok, thanks.

As she was talking with me, she didn’t have notes. She was just remembering what to do and getting the process down before going back to her group and leading them through it. Do you know what’s even better? At the beginning of the year this student was not confident in math and was often relying on a friend for answers. Now, she’s the leader and truly understands what is going on.

You can check out some videos from Gus’s Instagram and Twitter accounts. Remember, Gus is my class mascot and shares what is going on in the classroom.

 

 

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