New slant on old landmark's story

Approach 1.

This article could be reproduced for students to read with blanks to fill in instead of the words and numbers (this is a cloze task): "a little less," "12 tubes," "6m," "12th-century," "six [degrees]," "4[m]," "perpendicular," "5mm," "two [sets]," and "100m." Depending on the age or ability of students, units and nouns may or may not be deleted. Students could make decisions in groups or on their own about what should fill in the blanks. Class discussion could then determine which are the best estimates. An explicit discussion of how students obtain the estimates would be helpful.

Approach 2.

Ask students to read the article as presented and list all of the different aspects of the story that depend on the use of numbers or other mathematical phrases. Discussion of students' lists will bring out aspects of quantity (e.g., 12 tubes, two sets of suspenders), linear measurement (e.g., 6m, 4m, 5mm, 100m), angle measurement (e.g., 6 degrees, perpendicular), and order (a little less, 12th-century). The drawing of labelled diagrams using the information in the article could be a good exercise for many students.

Approach 3.

Students can be asked to write numeracy questions for each other, displaying both their literacy and numeracy skills. These are likely to display a range of difficulty and include those found in the student questions.

Approach 4.

Specific topics that could be motivated by this article include

1. scale drawing using a protractor
2. ratios and percentages
3. trigonometry.

Approach 5.

There are quite a few opportunities for students to do research based on this article. Reading about its history will involve literacy as well as numeracy. Collecting data and plotting the increasing lean over the centuries would be a good exercise that would include graphing skills. It is likely to be possible to follow the project described in the article on the internet. A starting point for such investigations might be "GF's Leaning Tower of Pisa Web Page."

Where to next?

Newspaper article
Student Questions for this article
Index - Related articles
Index - Number
Main Index - Numeracy in the News