Steve looks at using the Universal Zoom app to deliver a range of mathematical learning opportunities around the concept of the Burj Khalifa's height.
A recent little gem that I've come across is the Universal Zoom app. It allows you to view the heights of various things and compare them visually. Now when I say things, let me be clear - the range here is staggering as you can zoom down to single DNA strands or zoom out to the vastness of whole planets and constellations.
Oh, and the Burj Khalifa is in there!
This makes the app a great tool for a local learning project, especially for those of us lucky enough to be teaching here in the UAE. The subject focus would be naturally be maths and the easiest option here would be to have students use the app to compare the world's tallest tower to various other objects. This could mean using the Burj as the smaller object or the larger one since the scope in Universal Zoom is so large.
So for example: How many space shuttles would be as tall as the Burj Khalifa?
As the scale on the axis is rounded, this works well as a data handling task, hitting the objective of reading partial scales. It differentiates nicely too as you could set the less able mathematicians some of the more comparable objects - the leaning tower of Pisa or the Statue of Liberty for example - that produce a smaller number when compared to the Burj.
Example 2: How many Great Pyramids are as tall as the Burj Khalifa?
You could of course take this data in a variety of directions. For instance, build sums around it using multiplication - if 9 Statues of Liberty are as tall as the Burj, how many would be three times as tall?You could also use it for ration and proportion work or calculate the fractions or percentages of height involved. In my recent Chemistry of Combos 3 feature, I included Universal Zoom comboed with Slideidea as a presentation tool. In fairness, the king of apps Explain Everything works just as well for this, if not better. Have students export a screen from Universal Zoom and then import into EE for annotation and screencasting to demonstrate calculations and thus understanding.
Before I finish, let me add a little something on framing. How you frame a task is crucial to student engagement and enthusiasm. I often use fake real life scenarios to generate high motivation levels. For example, a recent Scratch programming sequence I taught was framed as a job for Emirates Airlines to create an interactive terminal for their airport lounges. In this case, I would suggest something themed around world records - something that the UAE seems quite fond of! I'll leave you with this little prompt card I've put together for just this. Enjoy.