Welcome to my attempt to archive and share some experiences at making learning more visible in my classroom

Friday, 27 September 2013

The Shape of Things to Come

The last post I wrote about hexagons did encourage a few people to use the strategy to help students develop relational thinking in a visual way.

It has fascinated me seeing the extent to which an idea can travel and be used in a such a myriad of settings.  It's also amusing to see how an idea can embody annoyance with gimmicks in teaching.

Let's see how this one pans out. It involves hexagons.  It involves cutting out.  It also involves students literally getting to grips with a topic / subject / concept.  But it is also such a flexible starting point from which you can apply to any number of subjects and topics which is interesting.

It is called variously the hexaflexagon or the trihexaflexagon or the flexahexagon or flexagon.

The basic premise is that this simple, 2D paper cut out object will be a useful way to record small pieces of information about a topic in a mildly interesting way.  It is a two sided hexagon which magically reveals a third side once folded.  When I first showed it to students at lunchtime today they cried, "Burn the witch!!", which was frankly the nicest thing  anyone has ever said to me.

The very nature of the object makes it intrinsically interesting and something your students will fiddle about with for at least 8 or 9 minutes.  If you combine the hexaflexagon with some pieces of data or information that you require the students to remember for, say, a test - then they might actually read it during that 8 or 9 minutes.  Hey presto a revision tool.

Here's an example of how it might work in a subject picked at random such as... History.  Take a topic like the League of Nations.  There may be three essential questions to learn about this topic:
  • What were the successes of the League?
  • What were the examples of their failures?
  • What were the reasons why the League failed?
These three strands are of course, closely related.  Boil down the essential nuggets of knowledge about these strands and write them on one of the triangles of the flexagon.  Now you have a pocket sized revision guide for that topic.

What is more - you could make another one for a linked topic (The treaty of Versailles) and use them on the desk like a regular set of hexagons, building up sequences, creating links between pieces of your knowledge.

I reckon there are endless uses. Here are some templates to get you started:

Link to PDF Version with a blank
Link to Publisher Version to edit yourself

Best served just before an exam.  My next post might actually be about learning.

It would be great if you left a comment on this blog saying how you might use this in your subject!

If you really want to get your head round how it works watch this:

And here's a link to a nifty image generator.  Follow me on twitter here @clarky099

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