EXPLORING PERIMETER, AREA, AND VOLUME:
THE ZOO DESIGN CHALLENGE
reviewed in Video Rating Guide for Libraries, Vol. 5, No. 4
The National Council for Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) recommends the use of interactive programs to teach mathematical concepts. The Zoo Design Challenge is based on NCTM's Standards and succeeds in presenting involving problems with which students can learn about perimeter, area, and volume. It is not simply a video; the kit contains a detailed teacher's guide with suggested reproducible worksheets, a set of wooden blocks, and accompanying reading material. I found it to be appropriately targeted for grades 5-9. It is not recommended for a media collection, but should be purchased for use with a particular curriculum or as part of a curriculum resource center.
The video is divided into three different parts. It begins by showing a young zoo worker tending the monkey cage and its well-cared-for but sad denizen. Soon, the worker is joined by another and together they muse about designing a better space for their charges. Later, they are presented with some design parameters by a zoo administrator and they set out to solve the problem. They are helped by a third worker, their own age, who shows them how to work in two dimensions. There is a pause in the video and the class is asked to accomplish the same task. Two other problems follow.
The scenes are well photographed and a fine score accompanies the program. The diversity of the cast is subtle but notable. The young actors deliver natural performances; the conversations are never forced or wooden. This kit is certainly worthy of review for inclusion in a math curriculum The video portion is well done and can be recommended to show how cooperative learning can work. It would be an asset to many mathematics curricula.
Nora J. Bird
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