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Teaching Pythagoras

Part of the series Classroom Observation with Bayley

  Screen capture from Teaching Pythagoras

Summary

John Bayley observes as an AST maths teacher turns the challenge of teaching Pythagoras's theorem into a fun and engaging lesson for Key Stage 3.

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Discarding lesson objectives, former Teacher of the Year, Dan Walton, engages the Year 8 students in a series of activities which lead them to discover the formula of Pythagoras for themselves.

Dan uses golf to explore right-angled triangles, introducing the hypotenuse by solving a dog-leg hole in one. By playing games with numbers the children discover a numerical solution to their problem.

Next their new-found knowledge is put into practice as the class compete to solve a murder using the answers to a series of Pythagoras problems.

Dan keeps the momentum going using praise, games and even the children?s mobile phones to ensure the class is engrossed to the end.

 
 

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    • Re : Have you really taught pythagoras theorem?
      18 November 2010 - 19:52

      Dalaba - that's a bit of a harsh criticism.

      Clearly the teacher was trying to get the students motivated in the topic, which he was able to do by using a number of interesting teaching ideas. Agreed that he could have emphasized the right angle a bit more (he may of done anyway), but it really is not necessary to mention areas, certainly not to Yr 9 (?) students. Diverging and talking about that would surely have been a huge turn off, besides, looking at area is only one geometrical interpretaion of the rule; there are several proofs of the theorem which make no reference to areas at all.

      Personally I think that getting through both hypotenuse and shorter side ideas in one lesson was impressive. Presumably he would of used the following lesson to have consolidated the setting out of their work, whether the rule works for other triangles, more challenging questions etc.