## Directing me

This unit introduces some of the key concepts related to position and direction in the context of a series of games.

## About this resource

Specific learning outcomes:

- Describe where objects are using the language of position.
- Give and follow instructions using the language of position and direction.

# Directing me

## Achievement objectives

GM1-3: Give and follow instructions for movement that involve distances, directions, and half or quarter turns.

GM1-4: Describe their position relative to a person or object.

## Description of mathematics

At Level 1, the position element of geometry consists of gaining experience in using everyday language to describe position and direction of movement and interpreting others’ descriptions of position and movement.

Spatial understandings are developed around four types of mathematical questions: direction (which way?), distance (how far?), location (where?), and representation (what objects?). In answering these questions, students develop a variety of skills that relate to direction, distance, and position in space.

Teachers should extend young students' knowledge of relative positions in space through conversations, demonstrations, and stories. When students act out the story of the three billy goats and illustrate *over *and *under, near *and *far, *and *between, *they learn about location, space, and shape. Gradually, students should distinguish navigation ideas such as *left *and *right *along with the concepts of distance and measurement. As they build three-dimensional models and read maps of their own environments, students can discuss which blocks are used to represent various objects, like a desk or a chair. They can mark paths on the model, such as from a table to the wastebasket, with masking tape to emphasise the shape of the path. Teachers should help students relate their models to other representations by drawing a map of the same room that includes the path. In similar activities, older students should develop map skills that include making route maps and using simple coordinates to locate their school on a city map.

## Opportunities for adaptation and differentiation

The learning opportunities in this unit can be differentiated by providing or removing support for students and by varying the task requirements. Ways to differentiate include:

- continuing to model correct directions and allowing students to repeat your answers until they are ready to give their own directions
- challenging students to build or construct more complex buildings or pictures
- providing opportunities for students to work in pairs and small groups in order to encourage peer learning, scaffolding, extension, and the sharing and questioning of ideas
- working alongside individual students (or groups of students) who require further support with specific areas of knowledge or activities.

This unit is primarily focused on supporting students to understand and use the language of position and direction. The activities can be adapted to make them more interesting by adding contexts that are familiar to them; for example, they could be following directions to find one of the class toys instead of a box. If appropriate, you may also choose to include the home languages of students in your class.

Te reo Māori kupu such as roto (inside), waho (outside, east), raro (under), runga (above), whakamua (forwards), whakamuri (backwards), whakamauī (left), and whakamatau (right) could be introduced in this unit and used throughout other mathematical learning.

## Required materials

- multi-link cubes
- crayons/pens
- items for students to "fetch"
- an open space (e.g., a netball court)
- five boxes or containers
- resources to be used when creating a class chart (e.g., paper, pens, PowerPoint)

# Activity

**1.**

Introduce the topic of position by asking a series of questions that require answers that use position and direction language.

- Where are the crayons?
*(***On**the shelf,**at the back**of the class.) - Where is Sarah sitting?
**On**the mat,**beside**Sally,**behind**Lia.) - Where would I have to walk to get outside? (
**Around**the teacher’s desk,**past**the tote trays,**through**the door.)

**2.**

Record these ideas (i.e., the directional terms) on a chart for students to refer back to in later sessions. If appropriate, encourage your students who speak another language at home to share any other words they know for the directional terms generated in discussion.

**3.**

Ask students to suggest why you have chosen these words to write down.

**4.**

Explain that these are words that we use to describe where things are or where they are going.

**5.**

Add to the list to include any other words students can suggest. Ensure that all students understand all the words on the list.

- Play
*I*Spy - For example, I spy something that is under Sam’s desk—what is it? (chair)
- I spy something that is on the shelf beside the scissors—what is it?

**6.**

Play a game of *Simon Says*, using language of position and direction. (Simon Says: stand **on** your chair, crouch **under** your desk, **turn** to your **left or right,** step **forward or backward,** and put your **left or right **hand **up**.) As you give each instruction, point to the word that you have used on the class chart (or get a student to).

Over the next few days, the students should be introduced to games that reinforce their understanding of the language they discussed on the first day.

#### My building

In this activity, students practice using the language of position to describe a "building" they have made from multi-link cubes (or similar). You could increase the relevance of this task by asking students to build their favourite place, to build a school building, or to build a structure or building that is relevant to learning from another curriculum area (e.g., the local marae, the swimming pool, the museum). You might provide a bank of images for students to draw inspiration from.

- One student builds a "building" from multi-link cubes, hiding it from their partner.
- They then describe the building to their partner so that they can replicate it. Encourage the use of language of direction. “The red cube is on top of the blue cube, the green cube is on the left of the blue cube, and the yellow cube is in front of the blue cube.”
- Compare buildings to see if they are the same.

Students should start with only three or four cubes, all of different colours, and increase the number as they correctly replicate each building.

This activity could be done using other equipment if multi-link cubes are not available (Cuisenaire rods, Lego, etc.). It could also be done in small groups or as a whole class if there is enough equipment for everyone to participate. The teacher could give the instructions while everyone else builds, before having students take turns giving instructions.

#### My picture

This activity is the same as "My building", except that students draw their building instead of physically building it. They should use and describe the simple shapes that they have used to construct the building. For example,

- I have drawn a blue circle in the middle of the page. There is a red square on the left and a pink triangle on top of the square. On the right, there is a brown oval.

Extend students by promoting them to include a wider range of shapes in their building (e.g., *"*Can you include a hexagon?*"*) and support students by providing physical and/or digital models of shapes for reference.

In this activity, students follow directions to one of five boxes or containers. On a tennis court or field, place five boxes. Mark places on the field for groups of children to stand. Have students give instructions to a partner that will get them from their spot to a box. Initially, you could model calling out the instructions. Extend students by prompting them to make their instructions more specific. Support students by providing a list of directional words for them to refer to.

This game is like "Which box?" Students play in pairs. One player must follow the instructions given by their partner. These instructions should lead the partner to a box, from which they can fetch an object. Encourage the use of a variety of language of direction. (Turn left or right, straight ahead, move to the left or right, put your hand down on your left or right, etc.) To extend students, you could make this into a race or denote different point values to different objects (this could provide a context for practicing addition).

Ask students to write a story or create a picture using as many of the words from the class list of position or direction words as possible. Provide support and reinforcement; you could read a story such as “Where’s Spot?” to support students' thinking.

## Home link

Dear parents and whānau,

This week in math, we are studying position and direction. Encourage your child to use language such as over, under, left, right, high, low, near, and far to describe where objects are in relation to each other. Ask your child to describe the path they would follow to get from one end of the garden to their room. Ask them to describe the route they take to get to a friend's house.

**The quality of the images on this page may vary depending on the device you are using.**