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Retired teacher helping grandson via zoom
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Retired teacher helping grandson via zoom

by thutchval on Mon Mar 15, 2021 1:00 am

I’m looking for projects that my 9 yo grandson and I can build together via Zoom, we are over 5,000 miles apart. I need to teach him fractions and decimals. Any suggestions, ideas?

thutchval
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2021 12:57 am

Re: Retired teacher helping grandson via zoom

by adafruit_support_mike on Wed Mar 17, 2021 12:13 am

Visible feedback is pretty easy to understand and internalize, so a project with lots of LEDs could work.

A simple microcontroller connected to a 100-pixel NeoPixel strip, and to this slide potentiometer would probably be a good tool:

https://www.adafruit.com/product/4219
https://www.adafruit.com/product/2847

Program the microcontroller to treat the NeoPixel strip as a bargraph, lighting pixels to a level controlled by the position of the pot's slide: if the slide is in the middle, half the pixels should be lit.

Mount the NeoPixel strip between two meter sticks: one right next to the strip, and one a few centimeters away. Draw a simple nomograph that scales the pixel positions to centimeters.. draw a line from the 10th pixel to 10cm, from the 20th pixel to 20cm, and so on. Use the meter stick right next to the NeoPixel strip to measure the actual length of lit pixels, and the stick at the far end of the lines to measure the same fraction on a 1-meter scale.

That apparatus will show that the fraction can remain the same at different absolute lengths, and the scaled-to-1m measurement is a decimal expansion of the fraction.

The whole thing should be easy to build and program, and I'm willing to bet that once he's seen it work in general, he'll start looking for ways to play with the colors to represent millimeters. The NeoPixel strip linked above has RGBW LEDs, so each color could represent a quarter-pixel length, for instance. Then you can start playing with brightness.

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Re: Retired teacher helping grandson via zoom

by thutchval on Wed Mar 17, 2021 2:16 am

Thank you that is very helpful and inspires me to think of other ways to model fractions.

thutchval
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2021 12:57 am

Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.