by Naomi Manning
| 20 November 2013
Year 7 mathematics students had an unexpected and surprising lesson on Tuesday morning this week. Though they came to their normal mathematics classroom in Wahroonga, they were actually working with Roxanne from Whirlidurb, a teacher based in Dallas, Texas. They participated in Whirlidurb’s ArtSmart program as part of their studies of volume with their teacher Kim Allan.
The smiles on the faces of the girls as they participated in this interactive session confirmed the aptness of Whirlidurb’s motto, Be creative; Be engaged; Be connected. The video conference involved a drawing lesson that developed their fine motor skills and creative and critical thinking while expanding their geometry vocabulary. The students started with a warm up session and learned valuable tips for drawing and shading to trick the eye into seeing three-dimensional shapes.
While the students were drawing, they identified the basic elements of three-dimensional shapes, located a light source, and created shadows using various shading and textural styles. They composed drawings incorporating rectangular prisms, cubes and spheres in overlapping designs in different placements and sizes. Flat shapes suddenly leapt off the page; straight lines were transformed into curved lines and lifeless buildings suddenly had chimneys, windows and hidden doorways.
The picture shows one student’s cartoon masterpiece. According to their teacher, Kim Allan, 'They all said they enjoyed it and would recommend it to other students. They have come up with some great drawings and I am sure they will benefit from it in many ways… not just in maths'.
by Kim Allan
| 20 November 2013
Year 8 mathematics students were treated to the wonders of mathematics as they participated in a live workshop organised by Questacon in Canberra.
They were amazed by the skills of the presenter who was able to guess their number using a simple mathematical process and divisibility tests. The students will be exploring this further in class by using their algebra skills.
Patterns featured in the presentation and they learned how to create their own imaginative designs by cutting out unusual shapes and moving them around an otherwise ordinary two dimensional figure.
The students were surprised by the practical applications of probability for predicting outcomes. The students tossed coins of the same denomination and counted the number of times they landed inside and outside a square grid. The presenter guessed, correctly, that they were all using 10 cent coins using probability and the diameter of the coins.
Finally, the girls learned a very quick way of doing multiplication using numbers from six to 10 without using a calculator.
The girls had a lot of fun creating, solving problems and applying mathematics to the real world. They all agreed that it was a worthwhile experience and one they would love to do again.
by Naomi Manning
| 09 September 2013
Year 9 girls were connected as global citizens in a very real way in the Reverend’s Year 9 class this week. A Year 9 student contacted Frank Retief in Cape Town a couple of weeks ago regarding having a video conference style ‘lesson’ with her class and he said Yes! Frank Retief is a minister in the Church of England of South Africa who lives in Cape Town. His church was attacked 20 years ago and he has an amazing story of ‘faith under fire’. Year 9 have been studying this topic and are learning how people have coped when facing difficulties that have challenged their faith. This ‘fire’ maybe illness, injury, loss, persecution, doubt, death or any number of things that cause people to doubt and reject faith in Christ.
They talked with Frank and asked questions including What happened to your church and why? How did the massacre impact people’s faith and trust in the goodness and sovereignty of God? How did you and the congregation not only cope but grow through the experience? What advice would you give to a young person struggling with faith in Christ? It was a very moving experience for this story to be told and discussed so intimately with a person who was central to the incident at the time. !In the words of one of the students, 'It was a really insightful and interesting to hear about your experiences with the St James massacre and the way that your church dealt with the aftermath of it. We were all inspired by your churches faith and trust in God and forgiveness you had for the perpetrators of the crime.'
It was a real world experience where Abbotsleigh girls stayed in their classroom while making contact with someone in their studies who lived across the globe and was made possible by a students initiative, with the support of her teacher and the IT Department.
by Sophie Beard
| 07 August 2013
Students in one of our Year 7 Science classes had an amazing opportunity when they crossed to The Roslin Institute, part of the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine at the University of Edinburgh. The Institute undertakes research focussed on the health and welfare of animals, and applications of basic animal sciences in human and veterinary medicine, the livestock industry and food security.
The girls spoke with Dr Pip Beard and Dr Megan Davey and studied their curricula vitae and their profiles on the Roslin website to prepare some excellent questions covering a range of topics. The girls were interested in both the careers of these amazing women and their reasons for choosing their particular branches of science. They also asked questions about their research and the practicalities of their roles in the areas of veterinary pathology, virology, embryology, anatomy and genetics.
Dr Beard started her studies in Australia and Dr Davey started her studies in New Zealand. The girls were able to see that a career in Science can open up opportunities in interesting places all around the world. One of The Roslin Institute's most iconic faces is that of Dolly the Sheep. She was the world's first animal to be cloned from an adult somatic cell and she captured the imaginations of people worldwide. One student commented, 'I thought the conference was definitely fascinating. I got to understand more about a scientist's lifestyle, different viruses, animals and science careers. I really loved the conference and I was so fortunate to have this opportunity and I hope other classes get to do this conference too.'
Video conferencing allowed the students to interact with international specialists in the comfort of their school classroom and in class time. Hopefully the interesting discussions with these female scientists will have inspired some of our scientists of the future. We are very grateful to Dr Beard and Dr Davey for being so generous with their knowledge and their time.
by Naomi Manning
| 07 August 2013
We have been crossing to the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas for the last few years but every year the girls enjoy it and teachers appreciate how it has complemented their unit. It adds a direct connection with the both the location of their studies as well as the evidence.
Elective History girls studying the assassination of President Kennedy were able to debrief today about some of the evidence from the first 24 hours surrounding the assassination with experts from the museum. The girls asked questions about Dealey Plaza and the area of the assassination. One student asked about the cross on the road where the President was assassinated and how they have heard that the cars swerve to avoid it. This led the educators to switch the cameras to look down at Elm Street at the portion where the motorcade went and at the Grassy Knoll. They talked about the cross then followed where the President turned down the streets, looking live at modern day downtown Dallas. The session also gave context of the day of 22 November 1963 and the time the President Kennedy was in Texas through various documents and photos.
It also helped the students develop their skills in document analysis as they analysed photos of Oswald to discussing their authenticity and reliability. They discussed the position of shadows and the possibilities of the documents being forged or otherwise. It led to lots of interesting questions and discussions among the students regarding the reliability of the evidence.