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Ancient Greece and Maths – Technology Integration Pt1


Our Year 5's are studying Ancient Greece as their topic this term. They kicked off with Greek Day which saw them experience what it was like to live in the Ancient World through a range of interesting activities. They are now busy learning more about this wonderful civilisation through a varied range of cross-curricular learning experiences.

I teach Maths to one of the classes in this Year Group, and last week, got together with another of the Y5 teachers (Two heads are better than one... and Gemma's Brain Rocks!) to look at how we could link our Maths to the topic and integrate some technology for the students. We both felt that it was imperative that the technology must contribute to and enhance the teaching and learning and be used as a tool for reaching the instructional objectives - not be a time filler!

The objectives we wanted to cover were: Recognise and describe 2D and 3D shapes, sort shapes, measure using standard and non standard measurements, Area and Perimeter and Nets of 3D shapes.

The following is a description of how we set about achieving all of this. As the unit will run over the next few weeks, I will break this post into 3 parts.

The Challenge

In order to make the unit more relevant to the students we decided to present them with a challenge which would hopefully encompass all of the curriculum objectives we wished to teach and allow them to reach these goals by using technology as a tool. Therefore the challenge for our class became - How would you rebuild Ancient Greek monuments in order to teach others what they would have looked like? It is hoped that by the end of the unit, the students will be able to present buildings as they would have looked over 1500 yrs ago (Well, as near as possible)!

The Tools

With our question set we began looking at what technological tools we could use as part of this challenge. Due to the geographical/ historical nature of this theme, it was decided that the best tools for the job would include - Google Earth, Google Maps, Google Sketch Up, MS Publisher, On-line Maths DictionatyMoodle and Glogster. As we were using a number of Google Tools, we set up a class account so that the students could access all the features. It turned out that they already had their own gmail and so could log in with these. We had access to a Computer lab which meant each child would be using a PC.

2d/3d Shapes

Our first objective was recognising and describing 2d/3d shapes. We started in Google Earth above our school, looking at the buildings and features (Interesting to see the School name in massive letters on one of the roofs) and then flew of to the Acropolis. We had photos turned on and where able to examine much of the architecture in the area and discuss many of the buildings. After discussing the 2D shapes that the students knew, we asked them to see if they could identify any from our views in Google Earth - there were quite a few.

Acropolis 1

After our discussion we demonstrated how to find the Acropolis using Google Maps and explored the local area. There is lots of Ancient Greek Architecture. We wanted the students to find 2D shapes in the various buildings and then take a screenshot (Print screen on Windows) of the shape. This building proved popular as a semi-circle.

Screen shot 2011-05-07 at 11.53.00 AM

Once they had taken the screen shot, they pasted the image into MS Publisher. Here we examined the crop tool to get our images to the right size and tried to focus specifically on the shapes. Once they had done this, they began to annotate the images. We firstly used arrows to identify the shape (adjusting size/colour/direction), used the basic shapes toll to highlight the shape on the map and then added text boxes to describe the shapes properties.

As well as discussing the properties of the shapes with the students, we also introduced them to Jenny Eather's Maths Dictionary for Kids. This is a superb online tool which allowed the students to check/explore the various shapes and add further infomation to their document.

Screen shot 2011-05-07 at 12.06.04 PM

We wanted the students to do this for at least five shapes which they discovered using Google Maps. It did take some time and extended over into the next lesson, however, as teachers, we must be flexible and the engagement by everyone was incredible. They all managed to complete the task and produced some very pleasing results.


For the 3d shapes, we used the same tools, however, this time we wanted them to go into street view in Google maps and examine the same architecture but from a different view. The students really enjoyed this stage of the exercise, and once again the Maths Dictionary proved very useful in extending their understanding and descriptions of the 3d Shapes they discovered.

Screen shot 2011-05-07 at 12.33.50 PM

Screen shot 2011-05-07 at 12.30.57 PM

We asked the students to repeat what they had done using Publisher for the 2d shapes. However, rather than starting a new document the students added a new page so as to keep most of their work on this topic in one document.


In addition to setting up a Sumdog challenge for the students, we also wanted them to extend their understanding of Ancient Greece and technological tools. We decided a nice way to do this would be to move away from our maths objectives and investigate some of the notable Mathematicians from Ancient Greece. Using, History for Kids, we were able to find some great info on famous Greeks such as Pythagoras,  Aristotle, Archimedes and Anaxagoras to name but a few. Using Glogster, we then looked at how we could create a Glog on one of these famous Greeks. Glogster is a fantastic tool which students generally love using. It is extremely easy to set up a Glogster Edu account and generate passwords for your class.

Screen shot 2011-05-07 at 1.13.54 PM

Using our Moodle we have created a new page to give further instructions for the students to follow and will be asking students to upload completed work there over the next week.

Screen shot 2011-05-07 at 1.27.21 PM


Has the technology contributed to and enhanced the teaching and learning?

Most definitely. The students have learnt new skills and applied these to the tasks set. They have been completely engaged on the tasks whilst using the tools and some even went home to continue working on their documents.

Has technology been used as a tool for reaching the instructional objectives?

Yes, the students have demonstrated that they have achieved the objectives. The students were able to use technology tools to help them obtain information, present it professionally and demonstrate what they had achieved.

Where the students engaged in the learning?

Students were deeply engaged in their tasks at all times. The amount of time engaged in the different activities/ tasks suggested to me that deep learning was occurring. Research suggests there is a strong positive relationship between the amount of time students are actively engaged in learning activities and their achievement.

Next Steps/ Tools

Objectives: sort shapes, measure using standard and non standard measurements, Area and Perimeter and Nets of 3D shapes.

Tools: Google Maps - Measuring Tools, Google Sketch Up/ MS Publisher

Overall, this is turning out to be a great unit for both the teachers and students... many good things are happening and I am really looking forward to the next steps. As always, If there any ways you can see to ammend, improve what we have done, please leave a comment :)

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