There was such a positive response to my post on the iPad Educators site about using Universal Zoom for some UAE themed maths that I was inspired to put another mathematical feature together. This time I’m going to be using the Dubai Metro app from MX Data as the source for data.

Before we get into it, I’d like to point out that this article will incorporate a lot of key learning concepts:

• Real Life learning
• Local context learning
• Inquiry based learning
• Cross curricular learning

Mathematically speaking, we’ll cover data handling, averages, solving worded problems and more.

So, let’s look at the app. Not specifically designed as a learning tool, Dubai Metro is an interactive guide to the stations along the current red and green lines. You can search for a station as well as set a route between two stops. When this is selected, the app will tell you the duration of the journey as well as the number of stops and if there needs to be a change of train. It can easily be harnessed as a data generator for mathematical work!

The only problem really is the lack of stations. The Metro is still (relatively) new and as such isn’t the sprawling spaghetti junction that the London Underground used to offer me for similar work back when I taught in Buckhurst Hill. This doesn’t make it less useful data, just more limited unless you can be creative with it.

I’m going share a few teaching concepts that you can mix and match to suit your own needs. You may only use one; you may combine several. It’s totally up to you and will also depend on the age and ability of your students.

##### Play2Learn and Warm Up

Have the students play around with the app a little and get used to the interface. This will save you time later as there will be far fewer questions about how to use the app. Get the students to choose any 2 stations and calculate the time duration between them. Have them open Explain Everything and note these down or just get them to write these on post its.

Now they have a piece of data to work with. Gather them in small groups and have them order the journeys from shortest to longest. They could then calculate the range by working out the difference between the shortest route and the longest one. Two groups could even be merged to form a larger data set.

##### Inquiry style questioning

Ask them what questions THEY would like to ask about the Metro. You’ll need to focus them on mathematical questions that relate to the data at hand. Some examples might be:

1. What is the longest journey on the Metro?
2. What is the shortest journey on the Metro?
3. Which station is the furthest away from Mall of the Emirates?
4. What is the average journey length on the Metro?

Have them use the app to find the answers to their questions taking screengrabs along the way. These can then be brought into a presentation tool like Explain Everything, iMovie, Book Creator, Shadow Puppet, etc. for collation and explanation.

##### Problem Solving

Another approach that is useful for developing real life understanding and applications of maths is to employ worded problems. The key is to plan ahead effectively to ensure that there is enough differentiation to challenge all learners within a group. A simple example could be:

“Ali takes the Metro from Mall of the Emirates to Al Karama and back again. How long does he spend on the train in total?

By adding in a period of time where the traveller is stationery at one of the locations, these can be developed into more complex problems:

“Moustafa travels from Jebel Ali station to Mall of the Emirates, shops for 2 hours then travels back. How long is he out altogether?”

To go further, factor in start times and you hit a whole other objective – duration:

“Alia travels from Jebel Ali station to Mall of the Emirates, shops for 2 and a half hours then travels back. If she leaves at 12.30, what time does she get back?”

Of course there are still dozens of ways you could expand this, by adding multiple stops along a longer route for example.

##### Venn Diagrams

You can incorporate a data representation diagram like a Venn or Carroll. I still favour Venn. ReadWriteThink have their great, free digital app version, you could use it for paperless work. Select two complementary criteria e.g. more than 3 stops and journey lasts 10 minutes. Have students collate the data by trying different journeys in the Metro app. Encourage them to use logic – if Mall of the Emirates to Business Bay takes 11 minutes, what would this mean if we go one station further or one station less?

##### Average Journeys

Averages is another aspect of maths that suits this data nicely. How about letting them choose a station and calculate the journey times from here to every other station on the same line? They can then calculate mean, mode and median averages from the data.

By Guest Writer Steve Bambury

All screenshots provided by Mr Bambury.

Mr Bambury is the founder of www.ipadeducators.com