As students investigate this problem situation they learn about the Alhambra and a portion of Spanish history; they explore geometric shapes and tessellating patterns; and they deal firsthand with economic issues and constraints. In addition, they become acquainted with 14th century Moorish art and the work of the Dutch artist, M.C. Escher.
As they work through the unit, they enlarge their understanding of the concept of patterns and a significant interdisciplinary idea: Pattern recognition is fundamental to problem solving.
The Alhambra Restoration is a problem-based learning (PBL) unit, as are all of the T2 Units . The skills that are developed through participation in a PBL unit include decision-making, critical thinking, and, of course, problem solving. T2 Units also highlight the effective use of metacognition and collaboration.
The unit is designed for upper elementary/middle grades and integrates the content areas of mathematics, social studies, and the visual arts. Appropriate state (North Carolina) and national standards are identified, and introductory papers written by content area specialists give you some background information on this very interesting topic.
The time frame is variable and can be determined by each teacher. We recommend a minimum of two weeks.