I am always looking for ways to include fun activities in my math class. The other day, I went to a STEM workshop with wonderful learning using paper circuits and other neat things.
One thing we did was to create a moving origami bug complete with wings and eyes. The first step in the process - fold the square paper into the bug. Think of this as a lovely writing activity where students can write about:
a. The shapes they used as they folded such as triangles, etc.
b. Things they had trouble with following the directions to make the bug.
c. Find the area of various shapes within the whole bug.
Once we folded the creature, we added the eyes using a glue dot so it looked like a real bug. Now comes the fun part. We added a battery under the bug, tied in a small vibrating piece that came from an old cell phone, then added a bit of copper tape to connect the vibrator to the underside of the bug.
Guess what! It started when I connected the wires to the battery, the bug started moving all over table. This offers the chance for students to create:
a. Graphs on distance traveled.
b. Rate times time equals distance.
c. Figuring out how you do measure distance. Is it distance if the bug is moving sideways? Can you compare distance if you are comparing one length sideways versus going forward?
d. Build the bug out of different sizes of paper and compare weight with distances traveled due to the size of the paper.
These are ideas just off the top of my head. I plan to explore more with paper circuits, lights, movements, etc. Keep an eye on this column as I figure out ways to use it in class.