Task of the Week: Compass
Helen Irthum from Luxembourg gives us an interview about her task “Compass” in the following. The student teacher created our new task of the week during a university seminar.
How did you find out about the MathCityMap project? How do you use MCM and why?
I am a student of primary school teaching at the University of Luxembourg. Due to the Covid-19 crisis, the courses at the university have changed a lot and it was sometimes impossible to write an exam. In our course “Didactics of Mathematics” my professors decided that we should create a math trail in small groups using MathCityMap for any elementary school in Luxembourg. In this way we students became aware of the project. Together with a partner, I created a trail for the elementary school in Roodt-sur-Syre, which consists of 11 tasks in total, including the task “Compass”. Here you can find the trail “Math Trail next to the School “Am Stengert” in Roodt-sur-Syre”.
Describe your task. How can it be solved?
Our task “Compass” is about the student standing in the middle of a large compass, which is on the ground in the schoolyard, so that the compass faces north. First, one must take 5 steps towards the north, then 7 steps towards the east, 3 steps towards the south, 4 steps towards the east and finally 1 step towards the north. The students should now determine what is exactly in front of them after following this step combination. With the help of the compass, the students can determine where each cardinal point is located and thus correctly perform the step combination.
What are the didactic goals of the task?
Our main didactic goal is to help the students to get to know the cardinal points of the compass. The students should try to help themselves with the compass on the ground. It was very important to us that the students get to know the points of the compass in reality in this way and can experience this on their own bodies.
Do you have any further comments about MCM?
We are very enthusiastic about the MathCityMap project, because we, as prospective teachers, feel it is very important to show the students the mathematics in their environment so that they can experience this on their own bodies. We believe that these trails can often make students even more enthusiastic about mathematics, as they can see that mathematics is not just in their classroom, but in their everyday life and environment.