Copyright © University of Cambridge. All rights reserved.
'Animated Triangles' printed from http://nrich.maths.org/
Why use this activity?
The main aim of this problem is to give children the opportunity to talk about properties of triangles, symmetry and rotation in the context of a practical task.
Watching the film to begin with will stimulate lots of discussion amongst your class. (If you want to watch it directly from the National Film Board of Canada's website, go here: http://www3.nfb.ca/animation/objanim/en/films/film.php?id=10581
). You could ask them to watch it twice then talk about what
they saw in pairs before having a whole group discussion. Children might notice the different ways in which the initial triangle is split during the film and it might be handy to have some large copies of the triangle available (cut out from this sheet
) so that the pupils can demonstrate what they saw in the film. Your class might also
mention the triangles turning. This initial discussion is a good opportunity for you to praise well articulated descriptions of what the children have seen.
For the main activity, show the two shorter sections in turn, as the problem suggests. Children could work in pairs to create an image (or more than one) from each part of the film. (It might be helpful to have triangles available which have been printed onto different coloured paper at this point, and perhaps a black sheet as the background for each pair.) In a plenary, you could show a few of
their creations and ask the rest of the class how they think each was made from the original triangle. This will encourage visualisation and the use of appropriate vocabulary. The images would make a lovely wall display.
How many triangles can you see now?
How are they moving?
How are they the same as the first triangle?
How are they different from the first triangle?
How many of the new triangle would fit into the old one?
Can you tell me how the triangles have been split?
Can you describe the way in which they are moving?
Encourage the children to use increasingly sophisticated language to describe and compare what they see. They may begin to identify the different kinds of triangles they see and to make suggestions about the size comparisons between them using numbers and fractions. Notions of rotation may also be expressed.
Some children may need to stick to using colour to identify the traingles and compare them more generally in size looking for the bigger and smaller ones. They may also be able to count the triangles at different stages if you freeze the frames for them.