Exploring Angles and Triangles {Living Maths}


Last week we learnt about Viking runes.  We made a stave and found that every letter of the viking alphabet could be made using one of these as a guide.  The straight lines, angles and triangles made me think that there could be a maths lesson in there somewhere.  So, we spent the week exploring angles and triangles using Viking runes as our inspiration.

Viking Stave

We used our homemade stave as our starting point:

Viking Stave

Using the Viking stave, one can map the shape of every Viking letter. The children used their geo board to recreate the stave:

Viking Runes

Making Letters on the Stave

After this, they used a different colour elastic band to make some of the Viking letters.  My guys have never used a geoboard before, so this gave them practice before starting our maths lesson:

exploring angles and triangles

I did as I had done before and typed up a maths quest sheet.  This time the geometric maths concepts included the different types of angles found and the various triangles which exist with the angle and side rules associated with each one:

exploring angles and triangles

Finding the Angles of the Runes

We used the sheet of runes to measure some of the angles made within each letter.  I taught the children the types of angles and had them write which type of angle the chosen angle was in each letter.  Thomas understood immediately.  The girls needed to be walked through it a few times, but eventually understood. 

Exploring Angles and Triangles in Real Life

We had a chat about where we could find angles in life and they all came up with many examples.  Thomas mentioned that by using the elbow joint he could make  four of the angles.  This gave me an idea for consolidating the information for the girls.  I had them stand up and we played Simon says with angles  (i.e. ‘Simon says make an acute angle…)  You wouldn’t know it by their faces but they had a ball.  Maybe they were concentrating…

I asked how they might make a reflex angle.  Try as they might they couldn’t make that joint go backwards!  So I asked them to figure a way, using their bodies, to make a reflex angle.  This is what they came up with:

Children making angles
Reflex Angle

Not bad!!  We moved onto triangles. 

Exploring Triangles

Lillie immediately knew why they were called triangles.  I asked them to look at each picture and determine what the rule was.  For example- what is it that makes an Isosceles triangle an Isosceles.  With much prompting they soon figured that an Isosceles triangle had two sides the same length and two angles the same.  After that they understood what was expected from them and flew through the others.

They had fun finding the triangles in the letters and figuring the type of triangle.  One of the girls made the link between the angles already worked out previously and the name of the triangle.  They took turns finding different triangles using the stave (not many!) and finally I had them use Cusiniere rods to recreate the runes, ensuring the triangles and proportions and angles were fairly accurate.  They had to write one word, which I had to decipher:

Exploring angles and triangles
Charlotte’s word says Emma, a friend of ours

This was fairly successful and they definitely enjoy it more than sheet maths.  I don’t think angles are solid in their minds yet so in a couple of weeks I’ll revisit and see how much they have remembered and do another teaching session incorporating Pythagoras’ Theorem.


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