Eureka! Using Line Graphs to tell stories

I wanted to share this web based resource with everyone since I've been writing about data handling this week. Its been sitting, soaking and reclining in my bookmarks and at the bottom of the Maths recources page in our school web site for ages, but is a really nice resource to use as a starting point around time and change using line graphs.

Bathtime with Archimedes now on ColemanWeb, is an interactivity, that uses a combination of animation and pictorial representation to model the principles and effects of displacement. While users run the model a number of variables can be altered, you can turn on or off the tap, put in or remove the plug, and have Archimedes sit in or get out of the bath. As these "physical variables" are altered and the model is run, the level of water in the tub obviously changes, and this can be observed by watching the position of the rubber duck in the tub, my personal favourite touch, but also a line graph that is created to coincide with the events as they are carried out along the bottom of the page. Time and depth values are also recorded as the model runs in a table to the right of the screen.

As a "shared text" during maths or science sessions, this tool affords lovely opportunities to draw on the visual elements as the modelling process unfolds to support oral work, through engagement with the chart to recount the story and events that lead to its creation. Screen capturing the model, or a previously created model to an onscreen notebook, opens possibilities to engage students with the resultant image multimodally, and the use of hide and reveal techniques to mask areas of the image, promoting and focusing discussion, to draw on their previous experiences.

Following this up students could be provided with a one I prepared earlier version of a bath tub model presented as a line graph created in a spreadsheet, and asked to prepare a recount or story around the chart.

I put in the plug and ran my self a bath. I was just settling down when the phone rang, I got out of the tub, it was freezing as I dashed through the house but before I could get there the caller rang off. I clambered back into the tub. running some more hot water before laying back to relax.

Alternatively students could tell stories for others to sketch, using discussion to generate the charts they think would result from it. What do you think?

1 comment:

Si said...

I totally agree. It was once a program called Eureka in a set of BBC educational games that came out for the BBC Model B computer. Using Archimedes in his bath, it allows integration of history, science, mathematics, graph interpretation and such a wonderful introduction to how graphs relate to real events. In the original you could turn the graph and the graphics on and off individually and save graphs for future use. A pity this is still not possible. Does anyone have a full version of this program or maybe someone could implement it. It would be a nice embellishment as engaging the class with the events first, then showing the graph of what has happened is a nice way in and of course, having a stock of graphs to prompt pupils for evidence of what has happened is the rewarding conclusion to it all especially if you can then run the sequence with the same graph.
This is a great resource. In case you did not catch the link, it is:
Archimedes – Eureka!
A simulation that shows how Archimedes found out about displacement.