chapter  7
10 Pages

Teaching mathematics creatively: Giant maths

The world of giants and their interaction with humans is an incredibly strong premise on which to base, not just one, but a series of maths lessons. The topic is so rich that it could be the subject of a whole-term enquiry, bringing with it, not only mathematics, but also a range of cross-curricular approaches, stimulating learning by involving children in a project with enormous possibilities. Children are fascinated by giants – but so are adults. Myths, legends and folk tales are littered with extremes – giants and little people (see, for example, Allan 2009). These stories rest on binary opposites of huge and tiny, power and powerlessness, or perhaps guile and force. If you spend any time crouched down or walking around on your knees, at the same height as most of your pupils, you may get an understanding as to why. Everything that children look up at is gigantic compared with them. Adults and buildings tower above them. The idea of giants, taller than all they can see, is fascinating and immediately engaging.