Implementation of “Geometric Animals” (SOI-HR-381)

Author: Nusreta Murtič, german teacher

School/Organization: Primary school Ivana Gorana Kovačiča Vrbovsko, Croatia

How to enrich the German curriculum and connect several of the areas concerned and enable students to develop in STEM? I found the idea in Brendan Buttigieg’s learning scenario. The implementation of the scenario enabled to develop creativity, digital literacy, integrate mathematics, German, science, art and get to know Europeana’s digital heritage and connect content with classroom activities together with a mathematics teacher.  Discovering the animal world and geometric shapes with the help of Europeana, connecting them with the teaching of mathematics and creating your own animals with the help of tangrams ,students also developed language skills and communicated in German.The implementation includes different curricular disciplines (German as a second language, biology, mathematics, ICT, civic education).

Tangram cats and mice

Making classes more interesting, more dynamic and breaking the fear of mathematics and developing language skills in German – all this was made possible by the implementation of this learning scenario.  10 students from two branch schools, 4th and 5th grade, who speak German as a second language, aged 10-11, participated in the activities and implementation.The content on Europeana, the activities we carried out with the materials and the practical application of what we learned with the math and German teacher helped the students develop logical thinking, create learning strategies and better concentration, as well as new skills in the field of digital literacy.Learned geometric shapes that we recognized in pictures of animals and entering the world of making and creating new shapes from tangrams opened the door to some of the competitions in the speed of putting together tangrams on the theme of animals.The students were delighted with the auditory recordings of animal voices, recognizing them on the projection and looking for geometric shapes in their pictures on Europeana.

A handful of colors and shapes

The learning scenario used animal pictures and drawings from Europeana and the activities in scenario are closely related to art and mathematics. As I always strive for challenges, I considered that the implementation of this scenario is one of those challenges in which my students will have the opportunity to develop all their skills and discover new ones.I am glad that I also gave students from a small branch school the opportunity to immerse themselves in Europe’s digital heritage and see that mathematics, science, art and language go together.I adapted the materials and resources for my students who are beginners in using digital tools and computers as well as in learning the German language.For these activities, I needed one hour to prepare materials andresearch content on Europeana that is suitable for my students and that are in the public domain for use.The implementation lasted two school hours.

Do you hear that?

The students sat relaxed in the classroom and listened attentively to the sounds/voices of the animals Listen the sound.While listening to the sounds of animal, they guessed which animals they heard. After listening to the sounds of animals, we met some other animals, whose names we have not yet learned in German. We described them by color and size and looked for geometric shapes in them.Tiere und Formen

Students look at pictures and look for geometric shapes in them.

Europeana can give me even more

In order for the students to have a better insight into the basic geometric shapes and pictures/drawings of animals, I directed them to the sources on Europeana and asked them to take a good look at the shapes, sizes, shadows, texture and colors of the shapes as well as the appearance of the animals and their colors.

Students explore content on Europeana related to pictures/illustrations of animals and geometric shapes in German

We want to know more

In order for the students to be able to draw by hand and get to know some other geometric shapes that they discovered at Europeana, we invited the math teacher to give us the opportunity to try our hand at drawing them and learn how.The teacher brought us all the necessary tools for the occasion.

A math teacher instructs students to draw parallelograms.

Do you accept the challenge?

After the students tried their hand at independent drawing with triangles and other tools, the challenge followed – construct your own animal with the help of tangram parts. Once again we played memory with cards with geometric shapes in German.That was exciting and fun!It was so intense in the attempts and failures that the students did not want to stop.

Students construct their animals with the help of tangrams and an online application

Give me feedback

At the end, the students filled out the evaluation sheet and gave feedback  about how satisfied they were with their work and effort in the activities.

Students complete the evaluation


Finally, the students recorded a podcast with the math teacher in which they asked her questions in German, given that she learned it in elementary school.

STEM and foreign language complement each other

The implementation of a learning scenario related to STEM and  foreign language achieved a wide range of learning outcomes related to STEM education, language learning, and interdisciplinary learning.By integrating STEM activities into language learning, students have developed a better understanding of STEM concepts and principles, such as the scientific method, engineering design, mathematical problem-solving, and technology application. Additionally, learning STEM concepts in German have helped them improve their listening, speaking, reading, and writing abilities. These activities were a challenge for the students and they reacted extremely positively and gave feedback about their satisfaction.I would certainly suggest, as additions to the scenario, the implementation of an art exhibition or competition at the school level in arranging and creating new images and shapes.

Europeana makes sense

We should never think that it is impossible to connect areas, contents, people, professions and offer it to students as a new opportunity for growth.We live and work in the age of digital technology, students find learning about such content interesting, and Europeana offers them exactly what they need to create lessons in an interesting and instructive way.The students did very well in reviewing the content on Europeana because it is clear and transparent and they can choose the language.

Cooperation with a colleague from mathematics turned out to be a great success. The students were not negative or afraid. They could ask questions, in informal gatherings, through conversation and joint activities, they expanded their knowledge of geometry.

Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario? Geometric Animals (LS-MT-255) created by Brendan Buttigieg

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Do you want to discover more stories of implementation? Click here.

CC BY 4.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Museovirasto.

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