Thursday, 6 February 2014

Angry Birds: Technology attacks Math, much learning ensues.

Today my class took on a challenge. They would use their math knowledge to create and identify 3D figures that would become opposing forces in a great battle. Then they would use their understanding of strong and stable structures to design, construct and test platforms to protect their pigs from some angry birds.

As the class began cutting out the 3D nets, they worked together ensuring that everyone successfully constructed their 3D figures before we moved on to the second stage.

Designing, and Building Structures
Each group built a structure to protect their pigs. As they tested out their designs, retooling, and rebuilding helped them to create a stable structure. Some students viewed screenshots of angry birds to design their creation. 

Some students used Minecraft to create the design for their platforms.

As they built, students kept firing birds at their structures to test stability. They were shooting from different angles and this gave me an idea. I sourced an old wooden protractor and put some string on it. This allowed us to discuss the differing angles we could shoot the birds at to try and score a direct hit on the piggies.

This gave us the opportunity to think about angles between 0 and 90 degrees, and where 45 degrees fit into that range. The students changed their angles and birds flew more and more accurately.

There were many different ideas of what a good, stable structure would look like, and they all had advantages and disadvantages.

To give the birds enough momentum, and the pigs enough weight to withstand a partial hit, we weighed them down with up to 10 dried beans per 3D figure. 

Our next step will be to blog about the properties of the 3D figures we created, and to explain the advantages and disadvantages of their structures. 

I would like to thank @TechNinjaTodd who shared this activity on Twitter. Here is the Little Plastic Man blog where the 3D Angry Bird nets are available.

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