Implementation of ‘Pythagorean Theorem’ (SOI-DI-221)

This is a Story of Implementation by Natalija Budinski, based on the LS Pythagorean Theorem (EN-CUR-373) – this provided exciting learning possibilities for students with learning disabilities.

Art as motivation for learning mathematics

In my school Petro Kuzmjak, a group of students follow a special curriculum since they have learning difficulties. This year they are in their final year. Since I was teaching the Pythagoras Theorem to students in the regular classes, I wanted to find a way how to illustrate this universal mathematical concept to students with learning difficulties. To do this, I have used art as well as the above mentioned Europeana learning scenario. To make Pythagoras theorem interesting and easy to understand for students, I have prepared lessons that combine mathematics and art. I have noticed that students are more motivated to learn mathematics when the concepts are visually illustrated. Art is especially useful in this process since many times, artists use geometry to express art.  

The beauty of Pythagoras Theorem

The project “Art Activities Make Pythagoras’ Theorem Approachable to All Students” combines mathematics and art to help students with learning disabilities to understand the concept of Pythagoras Theorem. The project is based on the learning scenario which was extremely helpful in creating these activities. We used pictures of Pythagoras to show students how he looked like and to explain that he lived in different (ancient) times. We have followed the recommended content and adjusted it to the abilities of students with learning disabilities.

First, we have started with the definition of a triangle and then followed the definition of a right angle and right-angled triangle. Secondly, we have explored the features of squares and combined squares and the right-angled triangle to illustrate the connection described by the Pythagoras Theorem. The final part of the lesson was to draw a Pythagorean tree. It is a plane fractal constructed from squares, which was invented by Albert Bosman. It is called Pythagorean tree since each triple of touching squares form a right-angled triangle.

Students’ design of the Pythagorean tree

The students’ task was to draw a Pythagorean tree. By practising geometrical drawings and adding art, students were discovering this interesting mathematical concept, even though it is an advanced concept. Art in the process of learning geometry helped students to easily accept concepts of geometrical shapes, such as square and triangle. Also, activities increased motivation to learn mathematics and art.

Conclusion

The learning scenario was adjusted to the needs of my students. Some of the ideas were used directly, and some were used in the adjusted form. If the combination of mathematics and art approach was not employed, the students might have never had the possibility to learn about famous mathematician Pythagoras and his achievements. Once again art was proven as a powerful tool to learn mathematics, this time it helped students with learning disabilities. The result of my students can be seen in the figure below. Their work was not perfect, but they gave it their best shot and were highly active in class.

Students’ design of the Pythagorean tree

Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario:

Pythagorean Theorem (EN-CUR-373)

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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 Wellcome Collection.

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