Logical thinking, the process of moving sequentially from one thought to another in order to reach a conclusion or solve a problem, is an essential skill. Teaching this complicated process to young students can be challenging. However, using the INTOOBA Construction Kit, students can construct physical models and see an explanation of how logical thinking works.
Exercise: teacher assigns values to the rods and connectors. Students are asked to logically establish what is missing in the figure and what they need to complete the construction. They are asked to give values to what they see, what is missing, and what a completed piece would be worth. Students are asked to complete the model, and share their thinking process with the group.
Students use logic to establish what is missing, and then use their hands to solve the challenge.
Measurement and value
Two very important concepts in mathematics are measurement and value.
The INTOOBA Construction Kit is a very valuable classroom tool as it caters both to measurement, and the concept of value.
Measurement is important as it gives students an idea of how long, big, or wide something is. When we learn to measure something small such as a desk or a room, we establish a way to relate one object to another. For example, a desk is smaller than a room. If we are able to measure the length and width of a room, we can eventually move on to measuring the length of a road or the size of a lake.
Using the INTOOBA Construction Kit, students can measure a classroom, a hallway, or the whole school! Students can learn about scale, and make a scale drawing of the classroom.
Here is a second grade use for the INTOOBA Construction Kit where students have to figure out how many rods of varying lengths fit into the desired inch totals.
When we want to teach cost, money, or resource constraints, we can establish the concept of value by assigning a dollar value to the different color rods and connectors. Let students know they are building a bridge, and let them construct and tally the total cost of the bridge.
Geometric shapes and estimation
Students construct a pyramid using the INTOOBA Construction Kit. Then they make a small square out of rods and connectors. Placing the square in the pyramid, students estimate how many squares the pyramid can hold. Making the problem more complex, smaller items can be placed in the square. Then, estimate how many smaller items there are in the pyramid!
Estimation in mathematics is a crucial skill applied to almost all topics through high school. It is vital for students to be able to estimate what an outcome should be in order to check if a solution is feasible.
Here, second grade students learn estimation using the INTOOBA Construction Kit:
1. In order to teach estimation individually, each student was asked to make a small individual construction. The teachers assigned values to the rods and connectors. Students were asked to estimate the value of their construction, and then actually calculate the value of their work.
2. Upon completion of this exercise, students assembled their individual constructions in the center of the circle. Students were formed into small groups, and then they were then asked to estimate the total value of the accumulation in their groups. Group estimates were collected and a class total was obtained by averaging the group estimates. Teachers and students then broke apart the pile and lined up components for easy adding to find actual total value.
INTOOBA Construction Kit: cultivating optimal group dynamics in the classroom - collaborative learning
Design Thinking, Critical Thinking and other forms of collaborative group work have become popular methods of inquiry in many classrooms. Vital to the success of this work is the ability and willingness of students to: share ideas freely, be open to compromise, be willing to let a strongly held belief go in order to further group progress and consensus, and to realize that different inputs lead invariably to different results.
Using the INTOOBA Construction Kit, we have created a largely non verbal classroom exercise where these topics can be investigated. Establishing non verbal parameters dramatically illustrate how students can communicate the above-mentioned concepts through thought and action.
The purpose of this exercise is to show young learners how they can develop collaborative skills for group project work. Students learn:
• how to appreciate the input of others
• how to give up firmly held ideas to reach consensus
• that different inputs/circumstances/variables lead to different outcomes
Teachers can see how students actively tackle ideas through group manipulative work.
This exercise is done in three non verbal stages, followed by a discussion of the process and outcomes.
The teacher gives students, in groups of 2-6, a task to complete. Using the INTOOBA Construction Kit, students can build a spacecraft, a chair, a bridge. The teacher puts the manipulative material in front of the students, and explains that this process occurs in three non verbal steps.
Step 1: Student starts by picking up a manipulative and adding a piece to it; it is then passed to the next student in rotation until the task is complete. Students may only add one piece to the construction. Upon completion, a visual image of the product is captured for future comparison.
Step 2: The same process is repeated. Only this time, the student may take a turn either by adding a manipulative to, or taking one off, the construction. Capture image.
Step 3: In this final round, students may do either or both adding and subtracting a piece. Capture image.
Class discussion to follow:
• What did it feel like not to be able to communicate verbally?
• What did it feel like if your item was removed by a subsequent participant?
• What did it feel like to remove a piece?
• Discuss how the three outcomes varied and why.
* Learn what it is like to be an “accountant” and a “builder”.
* Practice staying on task so that you can get the most work done in a fixed time period.
* Adding and subtracting money.
* Planning and budgeting.
Students are given a classroom task worksheet. Each task pays a certain dollar amount as ‘salary’ to the builder. Students pair up so that one person is the “accountant” and one person is the “builder”. The accountant has to check that the builder’s task is completed satisfactorily in order to check it off the list. Student builders who have completed each task receive the designated payment for that task. Students tally up their task sheets as they work. When builders have sufficient funds, they can buy INTOOBA pieces from the shop to design and build a house. After a fixed time, the students switch roles so that everyone gets a chance to be a builder and earn money for their pieces. The image shows how many INTOOBA connectors and rods of various colors can be purchased, and their total cost.
The teacher/shopkeeper can vary the complexity of the exercise by, for example, having a ‘flash sale’ discounting prices on certain items throughout the activity. Teachers can also have specifications for the building, or they could have students fill out a “purchase order” for their INTOOBA pieces. There are a variety of ways to extend the exercise.
Intooba STEM/Math Construction Kit
Math, STEM/STEAM classes, libraries and Maker Spaces where Intooba is played by students