Inspired by a scene in a popular movie, mathematicians in Jolene Collier’s class wrapped up a unit on ratios and rates by penciling their own “mini-me” drawings using scale factors.
In the film, a character named Dr. Evil has a clone who is like him in every way, but 1/8 the size. Students cast their doubts on that claim and set out to do the math. The numbers showed the “mini-me” clone was more like half the size of Dr. Evil. Then, they were challenged to measure themselves and make their own Mini-Me to scale.
For the drawing, they used tape measures and meter sticks to determine their overall height and size from floor to hip, from hip to shoulder, shoulder to shoulder and so on. It yielded some surprising results: “Mrs. Collier! My legs are half my height!” said one student. They calculated the mini ratios using the scale factor of their choosing, such as 1/10, and produced the 2-D version on paper.
As an alternative, students could also create an educational poster on the topic of their choice. After researching statistics online, they worked to develop more visual representations of the numbers. Many students tackled environmental issues like plastic in the ocean and annual paper consumption in the United States. When finished, the posters will go on display around campus.
Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.