In MYP mathematics we develop students’ awareness of certain Global Contexts, one of which is students place in relationship to space and time.
In grade 9 whilst we developed the ideas in number and in particular Scientific Notation, we produced scale models of our Solar System. The students were split into three groups; one with a large Earth, one a large Jupiter and one with a large Sun. As a guide if the sun was a ball that could just fit between my stretched arms the Earth would be a sphere about 2cm in diameter. If the Sun was in the High School Mathematics room, then on this scale, the Earth would be at the far corner of the upper field.
In Grade 10 we developed the idea of logarithms and logarithmic scales. For example, giving someone who earns $5 a day, an extra $5 a day, has a much greater effect than giving someone who earns $100 a day, an extra $5. We used a logarithmic scale on a timeline for the universe. The length of the line was just over 5 metres and students worked in pairs to make models of events for the timeline. On a linear scale the Dinosaurs would appear just 8cm from our present day, on our logarithmic scale they appear 4 metres from the end. Either way it surprised me how close the creation of the Sun, the creation of the Earth and the first signs of life on Earth all occurred.
In Grade 11 we are working on functions and students are looking at the graphs of different functions and how they are transformed. In Grade 12 we had been working on vectors and are now moving onto the Mathematical Exploration. This counts for 20% of their final grade in IB mathematics and can be on any topic but must highlight how mathematics can be used to communicate and provide insight into that topic.