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Spring SAVY 2023: Spatial Smarts for Grades 1 & 2

Posted by on Monday, January 30, 2023 in blog, SAVY, Uncategorized.

Day 3: Saturday, February 11

Dear SAVY Parents,

Thank you for the opportunity to work with your child at SAVY in the Spatial Smarts course. What an action-packed day we had on Saturday as we concluded our spatial reasoning studies! On this day, your child was challenged to visualize models and two-dimensional representations of 3D objects created with various stacks of cubes in a grid. They analyzed these structures in order to sketch them with increased accuracy and to describe them using mathematical vocabulary. They were encouraged to make predictions, justify their thinking, and make adjustments when they gained new understandings.

When presented with 3D stacks and mat plans, students were challenged to observe the structures from different perspectives in order to create a variety of representations and statements. Additionally, students used their prior knowledge of pentominoes to analyze which of these figures could be folded into open box shapes. This required them really tap into their new understanding of analysis and visualization. Students were expected to work with and share limited materials in order to encourage collaboration, communication, and problem-solving skills, but they were also given opportunities to work directly with their own set of materials in order to complete tasks independently and with accuracy and detail. It was really fun and difficult work, however, we all agreed that we came to do hard things!

Speaking of work, your child continued to discuss the relationships between spatial reasoning and career and professional tasks. How do scientists and engineers use spatial reasoning to increase the amount of payload they can include in space travel vessels? How can surgeons increase their ability to successfully perform difficult and risky operations using 3D imagery and virtual reality robotics? Students were asked to consider what career fields they wanted to learn more about. Below are a few links that you can follow up on with your child and there are still many challenges to be found in their work folders with handouts and related materials!

We wish to extend special thanks to our assistant, Mr. Zac for all his expertise and supports to our learning environment. We hope to see you and your child in another SAVY class soon!

TEDEx on mathematical origami for space solar panels and radiation sails:

Virtual 3D Surgery:

Day 2: Saturday, February 4

Dear SAVY Parents,

It was another great day in our multidimensional mathematical study! Math is the study of space, structure, change, and of course quantities, and we worked in all these areas today! Your child has had opportunities to analyze, problem solve, collaborate, create, and even learn how to FAIL. We celebrated our FAILs or First Attempts In Learning, because we practiced how to analyze learning opportunities and plan for future success when we don’t meet our goals. It was especially challenging when we were asked to find ALL possible answers to a problem (examples: all lines of symmetry in a complex figure or all unique configurations of a pentomino) and justify our thinking. Wow! What strategies, methods, or organizational approaches can we use to prove that we have found ALL the possibilities?

We worked to find and observe relationships between our new spatial reasoning skills and work tasks and careers in the real world. What is a cartographer and how do they deconstruct and reconstruct visual representations in order to complete the task of helping people to understand geographic areas? For what purposes or projects? What understandings are needed for a cartographer in order to understand or create a map or design a digital app for wayfinding? We considered practical applications in working to display possible geological structures for understanding natural resources or designing structures around fault lines. Cartographers use spatial data so we’ll be observing more on that next week. Have you been to the Nashville Airport recently? We took a 3D tour of BNA and the building upgrades with their website and even observed and discussed the new 3D CT imaging scans that keep us safe as we travel.

I offered the students a challenge if they wanted to spend more time analyzing and problem solving with spatial reasoning. You might have fun with this as well. We worked strategically to find ALL 12 unique pentominoes, but there are 35 hexominoes (figures made of 6 squares with full sides touching)! What information about other polyominoes can you use to begin with? How can you work to eliminate redundant congruent figures that are simply rotations or reflections? What strategies can we use from discovering ALL the pentominoes for this new task? How can you organize your findings to communicate and justify your outcomes?

We have one more week and we will delve even more into the 3D work with mats, nets, and slices. We can’t wait to share all that we are learning!

Day 1: Saturday, January 28

Dear SAVY Parents,

What a great day of fun and learning! The children jumped right into the activities and discussions despite the idea of spatial reasoning as a mathematical task being a relatively new topic of study for them.  Math is the study of quantity, structure, space, and change. The concepts are fascinating, challenging, and everyone enjoys making real-world connections to career opportunities and professional tasks. What critical information can a meteorologist effectively communicate about weather events if he can accurately model and transform storm surge images? Check out this video featuring unique 3D imaging used by meteorologists. Is this a more effective way of communicating the implications of a storm surge than reporting estimated depths in numbers only? Why?  Consider with your child what other ways technology and spatial reasoning can be used to help people understand risks related to other potential natural disasters such as earthquakes. Can such a technique be used in evaluating building safety for earthquakes? What are the implications for wildfires?

First, students learned to explore and define space in 0, 1, 2, and 3 dimensions.  It is the habit of a scholar to communicate ideas with clarity, so we learned a lot of new vocabulary for our discussions.  Everyone enjoyed moving, describing, and analyzing transformations (movement in space ). Yes, we got to move our own bodies in translations (slides), rotation (turns around stationary point), reflections (flips), and the combination move of the glide reflection!  We used mathematical terms. to communicate specific movements and observed how that differed from informal language that often has to be paired with visual demonstrations for success (move that thing over there like this). What are the implications of harnessing mathematical vocabulary for great success? Why is this discipline essential in certain tasks such as computer programming?

After lunch, we explored the room for lines of symmetry in different structures.  How can a portrait artist or sculptor create images and structures that use dimensions and symmetry for impact and relevance?  What techniques can we observe that artists use to express three dimensions (3D) from images that are two dimensions (2D) or the reverse? We observed a new sculpture called, The Embrace, and the photographic image that inspired it? Students expressed their ideas and gave evidence about their thinking of materials, composition and arrangement, theme, and effectiveness of this new work. What other types of artists can use spatial reasoning skills in their works to communicate themes or feelings (cinematographers, dancers, graphic artists).

How can we observe symmetry in 3D solids and what are the implications (more on this on our final day)? Next week will begin with observations of symmetry. We will analyze beautiful food images from a culinary artist for unique presentations.  How does the visual imagery of food impact anticipation of its taste or quality or texture? Can symmetry and structure impact our other senses and feelings about a dish and its value? We’ll also explore polygons, learn from a cartographer, and much more!

We are looking forward to more learning opportunities next week!