Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

My Best Lesson - Redrawing the Map with Perpendicular Bisectors: News

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

My Best Lesson - Redrawing the Map with Perpendicular Bisectors: News

Article excerpt

My bottom-set students were due to be taught constructions, creating various geometric objects with only a compass and a straight edge or rule. To engage the 12- and 13-year-olds, I knew I had to do better than some horrendously contrived example, such as wanting to fly a plane equidistant between two erupting volcanoes.

I was struck by a great idea: a perpendicular bisector doesn't just show you the midway line between two points, it also highlights which parts of the map are closer to one of those points. The next task was to think of how to interest students in this fact, and before long I had come up with a map of the local area that had the primary schools they had once attended marked on it. The map was at a scale where individual streets could be recognised.

I asked the students to construct the perpendicular bisector of two post offices on the map and then asked if anyone's house was located between them. We used the bisector to decide which post office was closest to two students' houses, and I then asked what else they could see on the map that we could draw bisectors between. …

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