Visnos Spinners Interactive Teaching Resource
The spinner activity can display up to four spinners. These can be used as random number generators in lessons. With the built in activities you can practice BODMAS, algebraic substitution or challenge students to find the rule to produce a result using ×,+,− using the numbers generated.
Controlling the ITP
Click the spin button to spin the sliders. You can change the number of spinners shown by clicking the number selector in the top right hand corner. Initially six sided hexagon spinners are shown which are useful to simulate dice. To change the number of sides for the spinners make sure you have selected settings mode and then drag the sliders to new values.
Built in timed Activities
In setting mode, you can use the results of the spinner however you want to. However there are also some built in activities which make excellent starters or plenaries. They are all based on using the results of the spinners to reach a target number. But each approach how to get this number in a different way. The activities are designed to build student confidence in using numbers. Start with two spinners and the problems are never too difficult and eventually build up to using four spinners. You can change the time limit to reflect the difficulty. Depending on the class age/ability you may also want to avoid calculations such as 2−5=-3, there is a control to decide this, the initial default is to avoid calculations that produce negative target numbers. Remember you can also increase the number of sides for each spinner to make harder calculations.
Finding the rule game
The rule guess game is not too dissimilar to the countdown game shown on British TV. First select 'find rule' from the select control and press the spin button. When the spinners have stopped you will see a target number in the bottom right of the screen. The aim of the game is to use the operators ×,+,- to reach the number using each spinner value once and once only. Note the number is always attainable and obviously there might be more than one way to get the result. You can see the way the computer calculated the result by clicking the input control above the target number. To view the calculation in algebraic notation click algebraic rule. The first spinner is letter a, second letter b, third c and fourth d.
First select 'calculate' from the select control followed by spin. When the spinners have stopped a calculation is revealed using their values. The students can work out the answer. To show the answer click the answer Obviously if there are only two spinners it will be a simple calculation such as 3×2, but with four spinners the calculation presented will be more complex and require the use of BODMAS. So this can be a good lesson starter activity.
This mode works in a way similar to the calculate mode, but an algebraic expression is shown. The students need to substitute the letters using the spinner values. The completed substitution can be clicked to reveal it, followed by the answer. This is a great way to slowly introduce some algebra with just two spinners, but slowly build up over time to use the four spinner, which can produce more complex expressions.