Staff Developer and creator of "Math-Kitecture"
New York City Board of Education
Office of Instructional Technology
131 Livingston Street #416
Brooklyn, NY 11231 USA
The Office of Instructional Technology
(OIT) offers support in instruction and professional development
in the use of computers and related technology in the K-12 classroom.
OIT started as a program to integrate computers in middle school
classrooms as part of Project Smart Schools. Today's OIT includes
teacher workshops, city-wide conferences and Internet-based resources.
One of OIT's activites is Math-Kitecture,
a website about using architecture to do math (and vice versa).
The activities presented here, starting with "Floor Plan
Your Classroom," containing directions for making floor
plans using computer software, offer an engaging way for students
to study mathematics by doing real-life architecture. Everything
is designed to mesh with the middle school mathematics core curriculum
for New York State, as well as the mathematics performance standards.
When students submit a completed project, the results can be
displayed in the "student
gallery" on the website.
MATH-KITECTURE AT PS 88
Dr. Ellen Margolin, the principal
of PS 88 (Public Schoool 88) in district 24 Queens, New York
City, attended the annual "Share Fair" of the Association
of Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), held in January
2001 at Fordham University. While there, she sat through the
Math-Kitecture presentation. The idea of using architecture to
teach mathematics appealed to Dr. Margolin, and she was looking
for ways to integrate technology into the kindergarten-5th grade
Dr. Margolin tapped Dan Fenner to initiate the project. Mr. Fenner
is the technology staff developer at PS 88. In an e-mail to the
Math-Kitecture site, he wrote "My principal (Dr. Ellen Margolin)
attended your workshop on Math-Kitecture when we were at Fordham
and she loved it. We've started it at our school (P. S. 88) and
it is as good as it looked. We have a couple of 4th grade classes
and a couple of 5th grade classes working on it. We're starting
small in order to work out the bugs. Mostly, we're following
the notes posted at the [Office of Instructional Technology]
site. We intend to have as many students as possible make their
floor plans on the computer using Claris/AppleWorks, and one
of the teachers involved is interested in a CAD program. We'll
send you some of the projects when we've completed them. I'd
also like to send you some notes on our procedure and our progress.
Maybe you have some other ideas to help us along."
When his students completed their first CAD (computer-aided
design) floor plans, Mr. Fenner submitted them as email attachments
to the web site's student
THE PROCEDURE STEP-BY-STEP
According to Mr. Fenner,
these were the steps the students undertook to complete a CAD
- Students estimated the classroom measurements during lunchtime
- One student made a ClarisWorks spreadsheet of students' predictions
of lengths and widths.
- Pairs of students measured the classroom during lunch time
using a tape measure. They measured windows, doors, computers,
teachers desk, closets, radiators, black board, etc. (Figure 1).
- Another student made a spreadsheet of the actual measurements.
Copies of both spreadsheets were distributed to all the students.
- Class 4-227 made a scale drawing of the room on large graph
paper [1"=1' scale.] They used it as a model (Figure
- In the computer lab, individual students used AppleWorks
6 to make a CAD floor plan of the classroom (class 4-227 worked
in pairs). Mr. Fenner demonstrated what to do using Mac Manager
- Using Apple Airport file sharing technology, the students'
AppleWorks files were transferred onto Macintosh I-Books. Each
student received his or her own I-Book on which to work.
- While working in AppleWorks, the students used the grid lines
and rulers built into the program to draw and measure the different
elements and position them correctly (Figure
- When the floor plans were completed, with dimension lines
and key/scale included, they were e-mailed as attachments to
the web site (Figure 4).
When asked which of the steps proved especially difficult
for the children, Mr. Fenner said that the students had the most
difficulty with converting to scale, that is, knowing how big
to draw a line on the computer. He said the children should work
in pairs, so they can verify the correctness of the measurements.
The whole project took about five weeks to complete, with students
working on it at lest twice a week during 45-minute pull-out
MATH-KITECTURE'S FUTURE AT PS 88
Mr. Fenner said that PS 88 plans to increase the
number of students working on Math-Kitecture, and will probably
have students measure the classroom and work on the laptops during
the mathematics class itself. This is as opposed to the current
model, which is having the students pulled out of the classroom
to work on Math-Kitecture.
ON THE WWW
Role of Aesthetics in the Construction of Mathematical Knowledge
is a staff developer for the New York City Board of Education,
Office of Instructional Technology. He specializes in integrating
technology into the mathematics curriculum.
The correct citation for
this article is:
Bender, "Math-Kitecture at PS 88", Nexus Network
Journal, vol. 3, no. 4 (Autumn 2001), http://www.nexusjournal.com/Didactics-Bender.html
Copyright ©2001 Kim Williams
NNJ Autumn 2001 Index
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