Talk about a slap back to reality…..After an amazing two weeks of adventure throughout Thailand in the school holidays I was back in a flash and I am now teaching my first ever Maths subject. Now given I am not maths trained I have been worried about my lack of preparation. Anyway the fact I’m in a small school basically means that if there is a staff shortfall, you may be asked to teach outside of your area of expertise.

So I find myself teaching a year 9 unit called ‘Space and Measurement’ .Today we started with the basics by having students convert between different units of length measurement. So here is my first ever maths lesson with help from the magic of Google and Google Earth.

- Introduced the Length unit and then had the students complete a worksheet where they practiced the skills of converting lengths between units (mm, cm, m, km)
- We then made a bookmark that contained the rules for completing conversions, which can be summarised in a diagram. This was then laminated and will be used throughout the semester.
- I then introduced the students to Google and its ability to calculate answers. The students then completed this worksheet that had the students complete conversions by hand and then use Google to check the accuracy of their answers.
- The next step was to load Google Earth and complete this worksheet which had the students measuring real world landmarks throughout the world and converting this information back into more useful units of measurement. Some of the things they had to measure included, the size of their houses, the distance between Melbourne and Fiji and the length of a tennis court. All of which were completed with incredible accuracy within Google Earth, something the kids found incredible and highly motivating.

So the next step is to have them measure the area and perimeter of objects and use this information to come to conclusions about things like whether or not the Melbourne Cricket Ground could fit in the same space as the towns local cricket ground etc etc. The possibilities are endless with Google Earth and mathematics and I’m certainly looking towards exploring these in more detail.

Anyway for those of you who are unsure of how to measure objects in Google Earth I created a tutorial for the students using Screen Steps (which I highly recommend you try for creating quick professional looking tutorials or better yet have your students use to create. Anyway feel free to download and use the tutorial here.

So at the end of the day I was quite happy with my first attempt at teaching maths and have started to develop some further ideas, such as a Voicethread designed to teach estimation skills. I plan to have students take a 1 metre ruler around the school and place it against of objects have them take pictures of this and uploading it to Voicethread. The kids will then log on and use the 1 metre ruler in the variety of pictures to help them estimate the size of the objects the ruler is placed against.

Look forward to sharing with you my maths adventures in the future, and would love if you to hear any ideas you may have around using ICT in a mathematics class.

Maryna, on July 14, 2009 at 10:31 am said:Awesome! I am going to let all my friends, Maths and non Maths, know about your inspiring lesson. Thanks so much for sharing. Just another example that good teaching is not the same as good content knowledge…

gmcmahon, on July 14, 2009 at 11:40 am said:Quite a timely post as I was working with some teachers today about how they could use Google maps to use for maths lessons relating to location, map reading, measuring distance etc.

Will pass on your tutorial re using the measuring tool in Google earth to them.

Nice work Mr Robbo!

Suz Arnott, on July 24, 2009 at 4:45 am said:Jarrod… I have to say I not only love the way you embed eLearning and ICT skills into all of your subjects, but the thinking tools you use to get the kids really enjoying the learning. Your passion is quite infectious… good luck with this semester

john doe, on July 18, 2013 at 12:36 pm said:It’s Math, not Maths, plural

mrrobbo, on July 24, 2013 at 8:34 pm said:Perhaps its important not to assume how a word is spoken in a completely different country. Math is certainly not how it is used in Australia