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Mr Men Mathematics

Wednesday 15 May 2013

We can use Mr Men too!

So, while the Mr Men are enjoying a revival in UK teaching I thought I would jump on the bandwagon with some ideas for using the Mr Men in some Mathematics lessons. I blogged yesterday in support of my colleague Russel Tarr whose 'Mr Men Lesson' came under fire from Michael Gove. Ever since, I have found myself wondering about how we might use Mr Men in some of our mathematics classes! As so often, the more you think about these things, the more possibilities you see and I think there are a few genuine opportunities that I will work on in the future!

Mr Men Quadrilaterals,

I was thinking about a series of 7 books about quadrilaterals, Mr Square, Mr Rhombus and so on.... I thought that the stories could be about the properties of the particular quadrilaterals. Each story might be about 10 paragraphs long, then I thought you could cut out the paragraphs, mix them up and ask students to rebuild the books wih the correct titles. An example sentence might be....

'Mr ........ was feeling a little square today, it was quite rare for him to feel this way, but it could happen from time to time'

The sets and subsets of quadrilaterals and their properties are such a rich topic for investigation, but you do need to present problems well enough to encourage students to investigate them further. There is quite a bit of thought to do to think about the stories, but I think that could be fun and might even get a little cyptic depending the audience I decide to use!

Mr Man Concepts

Quite undeveloped yet, but I would love to have a series of stories about sophisticated mathematical ideas like proof. 'Mr Proof had seen several examples that worked, but wasn't quite satisfied that it would happen everytime' Again, I wonder how well able students might be to write the books themselves. Ultimately that would be fantastic and would depend on the target class. Like the history example, it could be that older students are asked to write the books with a younger target audience in mind. Imagine the adventures that Mr Proof might have on a given day. He could have a whole host of friends too, like 'Little Miss Improbable' who misses out on so many things and is hardly ever included. Every now and then though she turns up and surprises everyone. What about 'Mr Commutative', 'Little Miss Average' or better a reworking of 'Mr Mean' (and  a whole host of friends). We could go on... 'Mr Power', 'Little Miss Infinite', 'Mr Prime' and on and on. The key would really be about how to bring the activity to the students. Like the quadrilaterlas above, I think there might be some mileage in writing the stories and then having students rebuild them. Plenty to think about, but all ideas must start this way.

Anyway, walking down my corridor at school I was reminded that the Mr men have already been in our classooms. The picture below shows Mr Tickle depicing a box and whisker diagram about the spread of armspans in our school population, done during a whole school data week.

Through all of this, I am remided of how foolish it was of Mr Gove to dismiss an idea out of hand without any exploration. So often, the more you explore, the more potential you see. That is the business of teachers! As I write, I am certain that I am not the first to have these ideas and resolve to look for existing ideas before I go any further.

Tags: Mr Men, Ideas


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