Rob Ives models


I love to teach Geometry. And Physics. So, our school district being like the army, I almost never get  to teach them. In Geometry I do a lot of make/do/build. This year I have a slacker class, “Academic Strategies.” It does not take 38 weeks x 5 hours to say “come in, sit down, shut up,” (my entire panoply of academic strategies), so I’m having to find other things.

One of my kids requested “hands-on.” If you like to give kids time to construct, see how mechanisms work, and provide them time for patience, I strongly recommend Rob Ives . I first started making his models12 years ago, when I was student teaching in Algebra 2. We built rotating devices, to examine why anyone would need trig functions. It is cheap to download a model, or you can join like I did. Gotta support the artists.

Right now I’m putting together the nodding cow. Rob makes blackline drawings for his models, so that people like me can print them off for students without breaking the bank. I print them onto Bristol paper. It’s still one at a time on my home printer, because the school printer will not take the Bristol weight. I like to make sure I know what the problems might be.

Also, the models require white glue. Glue sticks don’t work. And patience, lots of patience. Right now, I’m waiting for the glue to dry.

I blame glue magic.


One response »

  1. I think Geometry class is a great opportunity to have kids (1) make a Mobius strip, (2) draw a line down the middle of “one side” (whereupon they discover the thing has only one side), (3) cut it “in two” down the middle (to discover you can’t cut it in two that way), then (4) cut it “in two” again (to discover you _can_ cut the result of the first cut in two that way, but you can’t separate the two pieces you end up with!). Even better, ask them to predict what’s going to happen before they perform each step. My experience with this activity — in the classroom, pretty limited, but outside of it, substantial — is that almost everyone finds this interesting and surprising. You can even follow up by showing Vi Hart’s Mobius strip musicbox video. (Hmmm, this might be a good subject for a blog post of my own, though surely it’s already been covered 97 times.)

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