How do teachers respond when a craze goes viral and all the children are playing with the latest “must-have” toy or gadget? Do we ban it because of the distraction it causes, or do we seek out teachable moments that allow us to engage children in new and exciting ways?
This year has been the year of the fidget spinner, with students reaching for the small whirly device at any available opportunity as they learn new tricks and share ideas.
But have you ever heard of a “flextangle”?
This was a question we asked our Grade 5 students by sharing a video with them and inviting them to make their own. A flextangle is a small 3D rotational “fidget” device that is made from a single piece of paper. It allows the students to be creative with their design, and use their maths skills and undertstanding to engineer and craft the finished product.
After having had the opportunity to make their own, we then asked the question – “would it be possible to make a really big one?”, and the challenge was set.
We had a large (2metre) version of the flextangle template printed off, and the students set about designing and making it. Team-work, problem solving, engineering, design, maths and enthusiasm all rolled into one exciting process.
In the end …….it worked!!
Why not make your own – it’s a whole lot more satisfying than a fidget-spinner!!