Local councils regularly attempt to brighten up the sidewalks by encouraging artists to decorate street telecommunication boxes. Here is one painted by local artist Stephen Evans at Bondi. He has imagined the box as an old Bondi Tram, Number 1929. At Maths Matters Resources we love to discover this sort of object to share with you in your classroom.
For primary students there are plenty of mathematical things to talk about. There are the 3 numbers – 1929, 1953 and 131 700 – so you can explore plenty of Place Value number concepts together. What’s 1000 more or less? What’s 10 times more or less? What’s the smallest number you make if you rearrange the digits in each number?
For Measurement and Geometry you can estimate the height, width and depth of the real box, based on ones you have seen in the street. You can estimate the area of each face of this rectangular prism, or the volume.Then there are questions of scale. How has Stephen worked out how large or small to paint his “tram”. You can ask everyone to bring in an empty grocery box from home. What object could this represent in real-life? How might you paint the outside surface? What proportions will you use? Why?
For Data you can ask your class to look out for these boxes in their own streets and suburbs. Keep a tally of how many they see that are painted or plain. Collect all the data and put it together as a class graph.