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Puppets go the distance with speed & time
March 2, 2012

When teaching speed, distance, time graphs your pupils’ understanding of the graph can be demonstrated by asking them to create a story with the finger puppets, and that story is to represent a given distance-time graph. Easily differentiated by giving pupils different graphs and different conditions e.g. one group must comment on the speed at some point in their story and another include the time spent in each location.

A pack of ten animal finger puppets, and ten people finger puppets are available from ikea (here and here) for £3.99 a pack. There are many hand puppets on line and depending on your budget and your favourite characters the sky is the limit.

Alternatively you may wish to give pupils a story and ask them to draw out the distance time graph. In this video below ask pupils to draw the distance time graph for Peppa’s outing on her bike (start 1 minute in). This video is particularly good for challenging the misconception that the steepness of the graph represents travelling up hill. Add challenge by asking pupils to graph both Peppa’s and George’s journey.

Off course there are many clips on you tube that you can choose to suit your audience.

This football distance time graph online activity uses football video clips and joins this activity with multiple choice questions. This is great for any age but in particular older students. Some of the clips are dated, alternatively start a real debate and use clips from recent matches. As the clips play you can ask the pupils to draw the distance time graph on mini white boards or present them with a choice of three graphs. It is handy to choose a clip in which the player turns around and travels back the way they came.

Also take a look at this standards unit, available through the Stem Centre website here A6 – Interpreting Distance – time graphs. I really like the idea of matching the graphs to the different descriptions. For a complete lesson plan and resources check out this resource from sbinning available on the TES. This has been adapted from another resource, giving questions about the graphs.

Hope you enjoy the ideas here! Thank you to all our readers, we welcome all feedback. Get in touch @numberloving and check out our free and premium resources in our NumberLoving Store.

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  1. missquinnmaths

    What perfect timing – I was JUST planning lessons for this week on graphs with my Y7 classes (of which one group has little English, so having props REALLY helps!). They’ll love this. Thanks:)

  2. Dani

    What perfect timing – I’m in the midst of planning activities for my 2 Y7 classes on graphs and was trying to think of how to make it accessible to the EAL group. Thank you:)

    • Sharon Derbyshire

      Oh great! Hope your pupils come up with amusing and mathematically correct story lines!


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