Home > #MTBoS, cross-curricular, Maths, Teaching > Angles or Angels?

Angles or Angels?

When I marked my year 11 books the other day I noticed that quite a few had been working that morning on “Angels in triangles’. This peturbed me a little, surely by Year 11 they should know the difference and be able to spell each one.

To counteract this massive literacy issue I played a game of “Angles and Angels”. I spoke to them first about the difference, then about the spelling and then did a show me activity where I showed them various pictures and they had to show me on their whiteboards if it was an angle or an “Angel”. I was impressed that they even got the picture of Kurt Angle,  although none of them recognised David Boreanas…..

The activity led to a discussing with a couple of them as to why it was important to discuss these things in maths lessons. Stemming from the inevitable question “why we learning about this? It’s maths not English.”

I explained my opinion that we may be learning maths, but that literacy is important in all subjects. As a maths teacher I educate these students and literacy has to be a big party of that, as I hope numeracy is a big party of those subjects that deal with numbers but aren’t maths. I also expressed the importance of maths specific vocabulary, such as ‘angles’ and how it’s not necessarily going to be covered in English.

It is these sorts of things that we need to be thinking about, literacy wise, to ensure our students are in the best position when they leave.

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  1. January 26, 2017 at 11:39 pm

    I loved this post. It only recently dawned on me that the reason some of students struggle with alternate and corresponding angles isn’t getting them mixed up, but that they actually don’t know what the words ‘alternate’ and ‘corresponding’ mean outside of maths. Once they’d got that it made sense why each was called which!

    • January 27, 2017 at 5:44 am

      Aye, that certainly is an issue. I had a job of year tens yesterday who were stumped in a similar way by the word “adjacent” they’d never encountered it before.

  2. January 27, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    In my geometry class, we always start with the English definition of a word before introducing the mathematical definition. My students this year were similarly stumped by “adjacent”.

    What never fails to amaze me is how many students think that the “subtraction property of equality” and the “substitution property of equality” are one property: “substraction property of equality”.

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