Friday, April 15, 2011

Take a piece of paper ....

What does it take to learn the Index Laws? Surprisingly little if you (i) can fold a piece of paper (ii) can multiply by two. I first observed my head teacher do a version of this lesson last year with his Year 7 class, and had the joy of doing a more advanced version with my Year 9 this year.  I have a feeling the idea goes back to the dawn of maths teaching, but I haven't seen a resource explaining it, so thought it would be fun to share my take on it.

Index Laws Folding Paper v1


  1. Thanks for this excellent, concrete activity illustrating exponential growth. Even younger students will be able to comprehend these ideas.

    Perhaps the activity should ask students to record the number of same-size rectangles because, in fact, there are more rectangles than 1, 2, 4, 8, ... if one counts them all.

  2. Hmmm.. that's a subtlety! I wonder if there is a word to describe just the smallest, 'discrete' rectangles? I'll add a note in teacher comments - thanks for the alert!

  3. Nice article. I have included this in the Math Teachers at Play 38. It has already been posted here:

    You may want to check it out.