Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Guardian Eyewitness - numeracy resource for film lovers

As mentioned yesterday, I feel this blog has been biased towards literacy lately.

So here's a quick snippet for numeracy teachers.

I bought the Guardian this morning (admittedly, to see if they had a view on last night's 'Can't Read, Can't Write' - more on that at a later date...) and really got hooked in by the graphic appeal of the Eyewitness page (i.e. the centre double page spread).

It's all about the UK Film Industry and there's lots to look at and discuss - from straightforward ordering (top 20 films) through to a giant pie chart (British films from comedy to horror). There's also plenty of percentages, loads of very large sums of money expressed as decimals (e.g. £4.3 billion - estimated contribution of the film industry to the UK's GDP in 2006), currency (some figures are in dollars) and horizontal bar charts. The accompanying article by Helen Pidd also contains further 'numeracy' (intertwined with literacy, of course!).
Printing tricks for PDF files
Don't fret if you didn't buy the paper. The good news is the film graphic is also available as a PDF file.
Now the great thing about PDFs is you can use the 'reduce to printer margins' option when printing. According to my PDF reader / writer (Acrobat) the original Guardian PDF is 25" x 18". This will indeed shrink to A4 but I recommend printing onto at least A3 if you, or your college, has A3 printing facilities.
Of course it's ideal for data projection, and as the file is not write protected you can use the Acrobat snapshot tool to select any area (for example a pie chart) and copy it into another document. This could be useful as the 'whole thing' could be rather overwhelming.
If that's too much trouble then Adobe also has a very useful 'current view' option (under 'print range' - which is by default set to 'all'). This means you can just zoom in (or out) to the bit you want and then whatever you see is what gets printed!
Yes - but how do I use it?
Well I'm running out of time here - my family will starve and the cupboard is bare - but here's a couple of ideas for a quick starter.
Split class (L1-2) into pairs or small groups. Give each group a topic: box office takings, top ten films, genre, Harry Potter (they may have to read the accompanying article for some of these). After an agreed time (10 minutes or so?) each pair to present / talk about their findings to the group.
Or for a quicker activity. Ask each student to compare two different films. E.g. Harry Potter and Stardust, Die Hard 4 and Hairspray, etc. This will involve (amongst other things) subtracting large sums of money.
More ideas
By chance there's also a short article The Guardian gives teachers the full picture (page 2, educational supplement) that describes how several other teachers (not of literacy / numeracy) use the Eyewitness pages in their classes.

1 comment:

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