Case Study 1: Designing Play Pods
© Jing Lu, Black County Atelier
Primary School and Black County Atelier
APP Level 4 – Shape, space and measure
Teacher Liz Cullen and her class teamed up with architect Jing Lu from Black County Atelier to design and build play pods in their playground. The school was keen to use the school playground as a source of learning.
The students had to design and make their own building blocks using recycled materials. They were introduced to different materials and different shapes in architecture before using recycled milk bottles as building blocks.
Students were split into groups and role played as either builders, fabricators and architects to give them an insight into a real life scenario. The pupils had to liaise with each other in their given roles to create their structure.
Using and applying
- Develop own strategies for solving problems
- Use own strategies within mathematics and in applying mathematics to practical contexts.
- Present information and results in a clear and organised way.
- Search for a solution by trying out ideas of their own.
Shape, space and measure
- Use the properties of 2-D and 3-D shapes.
- Make 3-D models by linking given faces or edges and draw common 2-D shapes in different orientations on grids.
- Choose and use appropriate units and instruments.
- Interpret, with appropriate accuracy, numbers on a range of measuring instruments, e.g. rulers, protractors.
- Space, shape and measure.
- Use plans, elevation to scale and measure.
- Teamwork and partnership.
- Roles of builders, fabricators and architects.
Student enjoyed the different approach to maths. The practical element and having an architect to assist the teacher gave the students a different perspective of what they were learning.
'The RIBA gave my class a chance to see maths has a purpose in the real world,' said Liz Cullen. The students also felt the same. Samantha, a student commented on her experience,
'Architects design buildings out of various shapes: triangles, squares, etc. It was like we were really old in business because we designed buildings and looked at others. It was fun!'
After the project students felt they had a better understanding of architecture and maths. The teacher also benefited from the project.
'I have learnt to use maths as construction. I'll feed back the main parts to the rest of school to use across all key stages.'
Case Study 2: Setting Sights High!
St James C of E Bolton and Grant Erskine Architects
© Neil Smith, St James C of E Bolton School
Key stage 3 - Design and Technology and Mathematics
Architect Grant Erskine worked with the teacher Neil Smith and Year 9 pupils from St. James’ Church of England School on an exciting tall building project.
The aim of the project was to encourage students to learn more about maths and architecture through exploring heights and designing their own tall buildings. This was delivered in three 2 hours sessions.
The students were given a series of tasks which included designing and making their own surveying tool and designing an office for their town centre. Students had to use site plans as a starting point and was asked to consider design considerations common to architects every few minutes, e.g. transport links, pedestrian access, shadows, evolving their design accordingly, until they had a final design.
- To give students an insight into the world of work and give them an opportunity to meet a professional from a sector to which they have had no exposure.
- To increase students understanding of how maths, and in particular trigonometry, is used 'in the real world'.
- To encourage students to think creatively to develop solutions to specific tasks.
This included Key stage 3 objectives
- Algebra as generalised arithmetic.
- Linear equations, formulae, expressions and identities.
- Analytical, graphical and numerical methods for solving equations.
- Pythagoras' theorem.
- Pythagoras and trigonometry.
- Background to architecture including works of contemporary architects.
- How to use site plans, consider design issues and resolving them.
The project spanning 3 sessions really challenged the students.
'The last session was the best because we had to use our own ingenuity, intellectual and our understanding skills to build the tallest tower' Adam, student
The project offered a more practical approach to Mathematics.
'I’ve always maintained that if a student understands as opposed to just learns, then that student will always remember. What better way to explain trigonometry than in a real life applicable context.' Grant Erskine, architect
As a result of the project some of the students are now planning to become architects.
Case study 3 - Maths Through Architecture