We could make EDIBLE revision notes by decorating cakes! : ) Yay! (Miss King beams)
The learning objective written up up the board was: To test out the "well known" argument that
MATHS + CAKE = FUN
and see if it worked when CAKE was substituted for BISCUITS (biscuits being the cheaper option)
Admittedly it was a bit of an expensive lesson - it cost me around £15 for all the biscuits, writing icing, marshmallows, strawberry laces, chocolate drops, silver balls....... (yes I did get a bit carried away), but was it worth it? I reckon so. I've been teaching some of these students for 3 years now and I've had a great time with them so I didn't begrudge a penny.
The big question is though - did the students enjoy it? And did they learn anything?
I was quite surprised by the reaction of the first class actually, I was expecting a bit of silliness and giggles, but instead they all got down to business very seriously and they actually worked really hard, producing 4 or 5 top-quality biscuits each. I thought the atmosphere might get a bit raucous, but instead it was more like an atmosphere of deep concentration as they all tried to keep their hands steady.
The girl who made the exterior angles biscuit (pictured above) spent ages painstakingly drawing footsteps around her hexagon to show that if you walk around the shape you have gone one full turn. Another (usually very vocal) student sat in silent concentration to produce a net and 3D drawing of a cube.
By the end of the lesson there weren't many actual biscuits left, (having mostly been consumed by the hungry workers) but the photographic evidence gave me a wealth of great pictures. Some were simple demonstrations of formulae or theorems (like the circumference formula biscuit on the right) whereas others posed questions to be answered (like the forming an equation with angles biscuit which is below).
Obviously this was not the most efficient method of revision - writing with writing icing takes a lot longer than writing with a normal pen and given the choice of so many decorations, there was always the danger that aesthetic sensibilities would overtake mathematical ones (!) but I had an ulterior motive in mind. I want my students to leave school with positive feelings towards mathematics, and if appealing to their sweet tooth can help that, then I make no apologies for doing so.
At the end of the lesson, when the class pestered me to make a goodbye speech to them, it was this thought that was at the forefront of my mind. So after a bit of reminiscing about the past 3 years, I took a few seconds to say something heartfelt. I told them that no matter what grade you get in the summer, whether it is what you were hoping for, or if you end up just missing out; you need to remember that they are GOOD at maths. Grade boundaries can move around, you can have a bad day, but after you leave school, when people mention maths, I want you to think to yourself, "I'm good at maths" and I want you to have a go at solving any problems that might come your way. A lot of you probably know more maths than your parents do (cue vigorous nodding by about half the class) and you should be really proud of your achievements.
I stopped then, before getting emotional. And I think I better stop writing now, for the same reason.