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## Volume with Mario and Luigi

One of our most popular blog posts to date has been “Nets to catch Angry Birds” (view here) in which these computer game characters are constructed into 3D shapes using nets. Leading to investigations about area, volume, surface area and scale factors and some great display work.

In our pursuit to continue to “Pimp Our Displays” as described in an earlier post here, I wanted to do something different to Angry Birds. I’ll admit I am not an avid game player at all but even I know Minecraft is big and very ‘blocky’ in its nature, so I went searching and it really didn’t take long, here is what I found. First I came across this TES resource, which includes the net of a Minecraft zombie and creeper, this was uploaded by Daniohara.

Some further research and I found FPS-X-Games.com blog by Steven Bear and his printable resources on his post “Minecraft Mob” here. His post includes nets to build Steve the Minecraft character, shown on the left. Nets to make the Creeper, the Pig, the Zombie and the Spider.

Barking Dog also provides printable nets for the Minecraft materials such as sand, dirt, stone and grass, check it out here. And check out a Minecraft Fan Club page here with more printable nets.

I was still not satisfied, I continued to think about how I could bring the classwork into a great display and bingo I thought Mario! Mario is timeless, everyone knows Mario, Luigi, those blocks and that tune!

Wow check out this site Deviant Art and Taringa.net from here I downloaded the resources ready for the Mario class and display work. So the plan is to print these in full colour, pupils can then construct, consolidating their learning about surface area. I will then make a Mario 3D display, by having at least two separate rows of 3D mystery blocks and 3D versions of Mario, Luigi and the other characters. I will then get the pupils to do the calculations of volume or surface area alongside the display!

Check these out nets;

So what if Mario is not your thing, just image search “Cubecraft Cartoons” and if there is a cartoon character you can think of I bet it is there!

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A good display can engage students, involve them, help them recall essential facts and more than anything make your classroom a nice place to be (remember you have to spend all day in there!)

Here are some top ideas and resources to help pimp your classroom…

Interactive Displays:

How do you measure up?

By far my most popular display is this one, a tape measure with various celebrities marked on. Students will be queuing up to see whether they are as tall as Katy Perry and never again will you have to mark an exam paper where someone has estimated that a giraffe  is 2m tall.

Calculation Corner

A good display if you have students who finish and you haven’t prepared an extension. It is just lots of numbers and symbols laminated and cut out, there are lots of possibilities for this:

• Give students a target number and use it like countdown.
• Ask them to use all the numbers and symbols to make a calculation which is correct
• Model how you type something into a calculator

What do you need to do to improve? The dreaded Ofsted question, a simple way to combat this is with these level and grade ladders. I have adapted these from several sources, printed in A3 and stuck on the wall in a ladder type pattern. Students can check against them to see what they need to do to reach the next level / grade. I also have A4 laminated copies in a wallet underneath for students to check off with a white board pen.

Display students work

Obviously a great thing to do is display students work, they love this and it gives them real pride in their work. But why stop there? Often we have different classes studying similar topics so why not let one class ‘assess’ another’s work. When you put work up have a laminated sheet of plain paper stuck next to each piece, get students to write comments on here with a white board marker.

3D shapes mobile

We blogged a while ago about making 3D shapes from cocktail sticks and midget gems. The beauty of this is that the midget gems go hard after a week or so making the models perfect to display, I have hung mine from the blinds so whenever a question comes up about a 3D shape it’s ready and waiting.

Other display ideas:

Everyone has an opinion on this and I personally think it’s good to have key words and facts displayed, students have said it helps them remember by picturing it in the classroom. This is a good example shared by kute val on the TES, another version probably best for A3 is here.

Mr Taylor has made some fun posters for fans of the popular ‘keep calm’ range, I particularly like the ‘keep calm and use a pencil’ one which now has pride of place above my desk.

This great powerpoint has been shared by allisoncam on the TES, it consists of loads of optical illusions, great to print, laminate and put up.

You can use this resource to create a timeline, each slide on the powerpoint has a famous mathematician from throughout history, you may want to update to include some more recent discoveries.

Most of us have seen word clouds, this is a great website which allows you to make them in a given shape, I’m thinking all the different shapes made up of their properties!

Other fun things you can buy:

I have regularly blogged about using the windows for display, this is such an easy way to make your classroom a bit more interesting, buy the pens here and off you go!

Lots of places stock number magnets, these are great to have on a radiator or filing cabinet and are just another thing for students to interact with.

So go on, pimp your classroom… If you have any suggestions to add to the list, let me know I am also on the look out! Get in touch @numberloving and visit our NumberLoving store for free and premium resources!!