2+2 != Maths

September 17, 2011

Update: iPad Gaming in Math and Science

Filed under: classroom — Numbat @ 17:45
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Hi All,

a few weeks ago I was really excited about this lesson I’d prepared for my Year 7 ICT class.

As the early indicators showed, the kids were even more excited about the class than I anticipated, perhaps too excited.  During the experiments they were far more interested in the “procedure” than the “recording” and while many of them obtained some excellent data, getting that data out of them in a usable format was quite difficult.

Still, the whole thing was a huge success both with the students and for myself and I am already planning on improving it for next year.  I can also see how I can expand on this lesson for stats class in Maths by introducing an analysis and graphs of the results.

The first thing I need to do is to give the students more time. If there’s anything I’ve learned this year it’s that I am underestimating the amount of time students take to do things.  Even simple things like fill in a short survey take them a lot longer that I expect.

With that in mind, I offer the following data to anyone who’d like to analyse some real world, student collected data.  I asked the students to fill in a short survey I’d created before they did their own experiment so that I could collect some data for myself.  It was a rushed job, a last minute thought and I needed to do better.  Next year I will plan it and present it to the students better, perhaps even get them to assist with the preparation, so that the data might be more comprehensive.

If you use this data and find some conclusions please come back and share them with us here in the comments.


The data file is in excel format and has notes for each of the columns on a separate sheet.  The data file can be downloaded here iPad Experimental Data


August 18, 2011

iPad Gaming in Math and Science

Filed under: classroom — Numbat @ 17:23
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I cannot remember ever being as thrilled by both the prospects and the response to one of my lessons.

The aim was to get students to explore different settings to assist in extending their iPad battery life.  Rather than giving them a simple research assignment, I thought why not get them to actually prove or disprove these methods, let’s conduct a (semi) scientific experiment.

So I tasked them to design an experiment. They were required to research a number of different theories on conserving battery life and pick one to investigate.  They were required to write a hypothesis and a method to test their theories, to design a data collection method, to perform the experiment and then write up a conclusion.

My ultimate aim is to collect as much of this data that I can and do some statistical analysis on the results.  This would certainly be relevant for an older Math classroom although I doubt I’ll be getting these students to do this further analysis.  (These are Year 7 students, 12/13 years old).

The response has been phenomenal. I had a hunch that the students would respond positively, but I never envisaged the response I received. During the class discussion stage, virtually every student participated and we developed the framework for our experimental method collaboratively.  Even students who wouldn’t normally participate were right in it, and one particular student who normally participates with completely random and irrelevant remarks was on track and contributing thoughtful comments.

Two students in particular, who have hardly done any work all year, were almost the first to be ready.  They had done their research and planned their experiment in record time, and were even enthusiastic when I sent them back (repeatedly) to flesh out the process for their experiment.  I don’t recall ever having to write notes to parents asking them to “allow” their child to complete their homework, but I have written a dozen or so of those so far.

This started as a bit of a crazy idea that I thought I would run with, but I’m already seeing how I can expand and extend it for future years.  I can see how it could be useful in both Science and Math class, and the results are certainly relevant for my IT classroom.

If you give this a try in your class please report back on how it works out for you.


18 September:  there’s an update here which includes feedback and data from these sessions.

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