Similarity and Scale Drawings

Confession:  I love doing art projects in my classes.  I love seeing the kids create and color in class.  I also love hanging their work in my classroom.  :)

We recently finished our unit on similarity and we had one week between the end of the unit and the beginning of our official review week.  I didn't want to begin a new unit right before mid-year exams.  Anyway, I have seen scale drawing projects before and thought it would be great to reinforce what we had been doing in class.  Everything turned out better than I expected!

This project for similarity and scale drawings is such a fun project in geometry!  I always want to find fun activities for this unit.

This is what I did:

1.  I chose several math comic strips.  If you want ideas, you can check out my "Math Comics and Quotes" Pinterest board.  All of the ones I chose were FoxTrot, but any comics could be used.  Then, I cut out the individual squares.  I didn't tell the students that the squares would make comic strips.  They figured it out, but I didn't talk to them about it.  I think it made it a little more fun in the end.  This was a great idea by Mrs. AwesomeGeometryTeacherFriend.

2.  I gave the kids some suggestions of scale factors that would work well, but they had to choose one on their own.  Then, they drew a grid on the comic and also lightly on their paper.  They used rulers to draw straight perpendicular lines.
This project for similarity and scale drawings is such a fun project in geometry!  I always want to find fun activities for this unit.

3.  The students began copying each box of the comic onto their paper.  
This project for similarity and scale drawings is such a fun project in geometry!  I always want to find fun activities for this unit.

4.  When they were finished "drawing", they outlined everything in black marker and erased any stray pencil marks and the gridlines.  

5.  Then, they colored the comic the same as the original.

6.  When they were finished, I cut out each square and assembled them into the comic strips.  I plan to laminate them together and hang them on the wall.

Some of the finished products are below.  You can see the individual comic and also see how they fit together into a comic strip.

This project for similarity and scale drawings is such a fun project in geometry!  I always want to find fun activities for this unit.

This project for similarity and scale drawings is such a fun project in geometry!  I always want to find fun activities for this unit.

This project for similarity and scale drawings is such a fun project in geometry!  I always want to find fun activities for this unit.

This project for similarity and scale drawings is such a fun project in geometry!  I always want to find fun activities for this unit.

This project for similarity and scale drawings is such a fun project in geometry!  I always want to find fun activities for this unit.

This project for similarity and scale drawings is such a fun project in geometry!  I always want to find fun activities for this unit.

I really liked this because it was different than what we normally do in class, but still had the mathematical aspect.  I loved seeing the awesome finished drawings from kids that "can't draw"!



Flipped Classroom Opinions

I tried a flipped classroom three different times in three different ways.  Here are my results and thoughts about each one.

I have been trying various adaptations of the flipped classroom model this school year.  I work at a 1:1 laptop school, so all of my kids have access to computers all the time.  I also have access to projectors that record, SMART Notebook, iMovie, and anything else I need.  Since I have these resources available, I wanted to give the flipped classroom a shot.

Related Pertinent Information

I teach the entire remedial math summer school program at my school.  I basically have all of the kids that made Ds in one classroom, all at the same time.  That's right - all of the math courses in the same room at the same time, Little House on the Prairie style.  My first year of doing this, I had all of the students work on packets of practice problems while I went around and helped students individually.  However, there was one big fact I overlooked.  The students didn't know enough to work on their own.  That's why they were in summer school!  Obviously, I needed to do something better.

Flipped Classroom - Take One - Summer School Edition

The students came to class and I gave the kids guided notes to fill in while they were watching the lesson.  When they were finished, they had to work a zillion practice problems.  When they finished all of the practice problems, they could leave for the day (it was summer school).

My Thoughts:  This worked very well.  Students could work at their own pace.  Since I let them leave when they were finished, they stayed on task the entire time.  Most of the student's test scores improved.  I consider this a success.  I will continue to use this in my summer program.

Flipped Classroom - Take Two

I gave the kids guided notes that they had to fill in as they watched the video at home.  They were supposed to bring the filled in notes to class the next day.  Super annoying.  About half of my students did not watch the video to take notes.  I was stuck - either have them watch the lesson during class or leave them in the dust.  At the time, I chose to leave them in the dust.  I was hoping that it would be a learning experience for them.  I invited (sternly told) the offending students to come to tutorials after school to make up their work and shot an email off to their parents.

My Thoughts:  I didn't really like this approach.  Kids not watching the video at home would be a daily problem.  I could have taught them the lesson while the rest of the class worked, but I didn't want to reinforce that behavior.  Also, I lost the discussion that normally takes place during the lesson.  Yes, we could recap afterward, but it's just not the same.

Flipped Classroom - Take Three

I gave the kids guided notes to fill in as they watched the video in class.  They all brought earbuds, watched the video, and worked practice problems in class.  At home, they had traditional homework.  My kids like this; they call it "video notes".  

My Thoughts:  I didn't like it.  It felt lonely.  There was very little personal interaction.  I tried it for a full week, but I won't do it again.  I completely lost the class discussions.  However, I do think this is a great option if I had a substitute.  


Overall I don't think the flipped classroom is right for me during the school year.  I think it is very important for students to be able to talk about math and put their thoughts into words.  Also, I don't want the daily struggle of kids not watching the videos.  No matter what I do, I'm always going to have kids that don't complete their homework, there's no workaround for that.

I tried a flipped classroom three different times in three different ways.  Here are my results and thoughts about each one.

The Flip Family - Similarity Activity

This free activity for similarity in geometry is fun review for high school or middle school students.  I love that it makes students practice plotting points, slope, and scale factor all in the same lesson.

Similarity is one of my least favorite units to teach in Geometry.  I know there are tons of awesome examples and activities, I just feel like everything I try falls flat.  One of my good friends is on the Geometry team, so we got together to revamp the unit.

Mrs. AwesomeGeoemtryTeacherFriend used to teach a pull out math remediation course at her previous school.  She used "The Flip Family" with her kids to really cement the idea of scale factor and review basic graphing.  So, we thought we'd give it a try this year.  The activity is adapted from this website (starts on page 11).

I gave my students a list of coordinate pairs to graph.  Then, they connected the dots to make a face (Zip Flip).  My students thought he looked like Bart Simpson.  Once they had graphed Zip, they have to use rules to transform the points and graph five more characters (Zap, Pip, Pop, Bip, and Bop).

This free activity for similarity in geometry is fun review for high school or middle school students.  I love that it makes students practice plotting points, slope, and scale factor all in the same lesson.

This free activity for similarity in geometry is fun review for high school or middle school students.  I love that it makes students practice plotting points, slope, and scale factor all in the same lesson.

I made my students list the height and width of each feature (face height and width, eye height and width, etc.) by counting the units.  Then, they had to write a million ratios comparing the all of the features of the five characters to Zip Flip.

This free activity for similarity in geometry is fun review for high school or middle school students.  I love that it makes students practice plotting points, slope, and scale factor all in the same lesson.

Once they had filled in all the ratios, they had to figure out who else was in the Flip family.

The students worked in assigned pairs.  I told them that they could split the work in half or work together.  The more successful groups chose to split the work of figuring out the points and graphing, but worked together to answer the questions.  My lower level students really shined in this activity, while my higher level students struggled.  This totally surprised me.  I think the higher level kids were over thinking things and trying to make the exercise harder than it actually was.  

This free activity for similarity in geometry is fun review for high school or middle school students.  I love that it makes students practice plotting points, slope, and scale factor all in the same lesson.

I really liked that this activity had a graphing component.  I was disappointed to see how many kids had trouble graphing points.  We've been doing coordinate geometry throughout the year, so I (wrongly) assumed that they had it down.  The most common mistake was kids switching the x and y coordinates.  I think they wrongly applied "rise over run" after hearing it so many times in their math-lives.  We'll just have to fix that.

This free activity for similarity in geometry is fun review for high school or middle school students.  I love that it makes students practice plotting points, slope, and scale factor all in the same lesson.

* This activity was adapted from The Missing Link by Annenberg Learner.