Are you prepared to embark on a secret mission, deep into the rainforest, to expose environmental threats?
Mission: Rainforestis a set of exciting interactive lessons themed around an environmental mission to save the rainforest from deforestation. Deep in a tropical rainforest, a team of 12 undercover environmentalists is on a mission to investigate and expose the illegal activities being carried out by a multinational logging organisation, Log Inc. This company is contributing to the deforestation that is destroying the planet. It will be a dangerous mission. Once they have set up base camp, the environmentalists will work in small groups to use all their cunning and intelligence to monitor the damage while evading detection and collecting evidence for UN international inspectors. The problems are intended to promote discussion, reasoning and creativity and to encourage pupils to apply their mathematical knowledge to real life situations.
The mathematical content in Rainforest is suitable for pupils who are confident with level 5 of the National Curriculum, and some of the content at level 6. It should suit pupils of above average attainment in Year 7, and average or above average attainment in Years 8 and 9.
Some of the lessons are opportunities for pupils to focus on process skills as they select, apply and use mathematical techniques that they have previously been taught. Other lessons could be an opportunity to introduce new techniques and harder work in an enjoyable 'non-text-book' scenario from which the mathematics arises naturally.
In particular, pupils will need to be able to calculate with decimals and percentages; find perimeters, areas and volumes and convert between units of measurement; use coordinates, find the midpoint of a line segment, make and interpret scale drawings and draw simple plans and elevations.
Organisation and pedagogy
Mission: Rainforest involves four 50-60 minute lessons of classroom activity, each with optional homework.
A mixture of whole class and small group work is involved. The application is easy to operate and is designed for use in a normal maths classroom. It requires an interactive whiteboard or whiteboard, a laptop (to be used by the teacher to load and navigate around the resource), a data projector and speakers.
In keeping with the ethos of the Bowland approach, the teachers role is to set pupils realistic targets, challenge pupils to think and reason for themselves and manage discussions and plenary reporting sessions. Techniques should only be demonstrated as a last resort. Throughout, the goal is to develop pupils ability to work and think independently.
This Case Study is presented as a browser-based application containing a collection of printable and ICT resources, including:
- Introduction - for teachers read this first, as it contains more details than this overview.
- Teachers' notes - with lesson plans for each of the four lessons.
- Videos, audio clips and slides - which tell the story and present the problems.
- Pupil resource sheets - to print and hand out.
(including hardware & software)
- The teacher will need a computer with data projector (or interactive whiteboard), sound output and speakers. The software is suitable for a Windows PC or an Apple Mac.
The software can be run directly from the Bowland Maths website, or you can download the case study and copy it to the computer(s) you will be using during the lesson, or to the school network.
The computer will need a modern web browser with Adobe Flash Player installed. Windows users will also need Adobe Reader to view and print resources. These are both available for free download from http://www.adobe.com/downloads/.
- Pupils will need calculators, graph paper, graphics calculators (optional), rulers, compasses, stiff card and squared paper.
- Each pupil, or pair of pupils, will need a printed copy of the resource sheets.