Tag Archives: learning

How do you teach yours? Dept. CPD

16 Feb slide3

Effective use of department time, this is a daunting task for a newly appointed head of department! So like most when I first took this responsibility I made sharing good practice (SGP) a permanent agenda item as one way of continuous professional development. However, I soon realised that this wasn’t meeting the needs of professional development for the team, all of which were at different stages of their career. The sharing good practice item too often had become one member of the department “sharing a resource” they have used or ‘found’ recently. For many reasons I decided to keep the format of SGP (rota basis throughout the department). So instead of replacing it, I added other activities to department meetings that I felt actually resulted in discussions of good practice in terms of the teaching of Mathematics. In this post I describe three tried and tested strategies for keeping the objective of deeper understanding at the forefront of your departments’ planning and preparation.

First: Why the importance in the Teaching of Mathematics
One of the key message from “Mathematics: made to measure” (read it here) is our responsibility to enable all pupils to develop a conceptual understanding of the mathematics they learn, its structures and relationships and fluent recall of mathematical knowledge and skills in order to equip them to solve familiar problems as well as tackle creatively the more complex and unfamiliar ones that lie ahead. The Ofsted 2012 descriptors found on page 30 of this summary of  Mathematics’ reports (another good read) are certainly still relevant when discussing teaching approaches with your department. One element for outstanding quality of teaching is; “Teaching is rooted in the development of all pupils’ conceptual understanding of important concepts and progression within the lesson and over time. It enables pupils to make connections between topics and see the ‘big picture’”.

The Bigger Picture

slide3

This is a simple concept in which you ask the department to work in pairs during department time, to consider particular topics/skills on three different levels.
1. Method; what is the method, the skill in its most basic form? Are there any generalisations (known by some as rules grrr)?
2. Understanding; How do you teach for understanding? How do you lead the pupils to make their own generalisations?
3. The bigger picture; What are the applications? Are there any links to other topics?

This really is a great for unpicking your departments’ approaches to individual topics in detail. Often revealing gaps in staff knowledge and understanding (particularly NQT/RQT’s), and can even reveal if staff have been oblivious using and teaching tricks just because they were taught that way. How many of your department now how to conceptually explain the division of a fraction by a fraction. This NumberLoving resource, download for free from here, includes a number of examples such as operating with indices,operating with fractions, standard form and a blank grid (probably the most useful) which you can adapt to suit any topic coming up in your scheme of work.

How do you teach yours?
how teach blankThis second approach requires some forward planning, and forethought from your department members. Prior to the meeting give each member of the department a “How do you teach yours” sheet on the topic you will be discussing. Here is an example of what this might look like for the topics of multiplication and division.

how you teachAs you can see the department members are asked to complete each indicating how they would teach the pupils, prior to the meeting. Once at the meeting methods, approaches are discussed and debated. This naturally leads to an agreement of what is the best way to teach for understanding. Once agreed on the best approach this can be documented as shown in the example on the right.

This department activity could easily be adapted for any subject area. I have provided three examples of “How do you teach yours” to help get you started. Download it for free here.

imageDepartment Reading
This can be done with any text or report which you feel will aid discussion. With a pre-determined focus direct the department towards the book/report, or even better provide a paper copy in their tray. Department should read this in preparation for the meeting.

Nix the tricks
As described on the website this book is “filled with alternatives to the shortcuts so prevalent in mathematics education and explains exactly why the tricks are so bad for understanding math”.  I would highly recommend providing each member of your department with this book. This makes for both a great discussion point and a handy resource for alternative methods. I have also found it useful as a point of referral when during work samples I have observed potential teaching of tricks and not of understanding.  This book can be purchased online or downloaded as a pdf for free from the Nix the Tricks website here

I hope this has provided some ideas of how to promote continuous professional development rooted around the effective teaching of mathematics!

Thank you for reading!

Spooktacular Colour by Numbers

30 Oct

Colour by number is a well known childhood activity and in most cases requires no maths other than number recognition.

paint by number completepaint by number blank

 

 

 

 

 

Take for example this Halloween Scarecrow picture, which I have completed online using the Color It by Numbers website here. As you can see each number represents a particular colour and once finished the image is more defined.

To add difficulty to this activity each number can be replaced by a question with that numerical answer. For example this pumpkin colour by number requires students to solve the equations to find the value of x. Each answer is then one of the five colours. This worksheet can be downloaded from Education.com, which is a free account based website.

I am still not satisfied that there is enough challenge for all pupils, in which case I use a blank template such as this bat picture below taken from Coloritbynumber.com here, and ask pupils to create their own question with the correct numerical values for which ever topic is most relevant. blank bat

You could ask pupils to create a set of questions limited by topic area for example; BIDMAS, solving equations, area, perimeter, evaluating formulae, alternatively pupils could create it based on a number of topics recently studied. Their work (when checked) could then be given an a starter of homework activity for another class.

Other Halloween Activities we Love

Relay Races

halloween relayWe love relay races as a great team and review activity, check out our blog post here about how to run a relay race. A collection of relay races for all occasions, not just Halloween, can be downloaded from here made by Chris Smith @AAP03102.

Skeleton Rotational Symmetry

ghouls

Check out our post on making some Halloween decorations using rotational symmetry here.

Witches Brew

witches brew

Check out our blog here.

Thank you for reading NumberLoving!

Sharon and Laura

 

Witches Brew, Ratio, Proportioning and Costings

5 Oct

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble!

Another of our Mathematical Halloween themed activities is using ratio and proportion to make witches brew.

The Brew

Download the recipe sheet I used with a low ability year 7 group from here, our Number Loving resource site.

I renamed some basic ingredients to make them more disgusting sounding! Stagnant pond water = lemonade, pumpkin puree = orange juice, pink poison = cranberry juice, dash of blood = grenadine.

Any non-alcoholic recipe can easily be used as a witches brew, make it more ghastly by adding jelly snakes, eyes or other gruesome sweets available at this time of year! Check out this post by Emma Salk for non-alcoholic cocktail recipes.

The Lesson

Download this PowerPoint, ideal for low ability year 7 pupils, which recaps finding halves, doubles and thirds of amounts. Following which pupils then make the cocktail, using the recipe sheet (above) to find the measurements for one drink and then use this costing sheet to work out batch costs.

These resources were designed for low ability pupils, they can easily be differentiated by requiring students to work with more complex ratios, or requiring more precise measurement.

Numeracy Accross the Curricular Links

Many links with the food technology department, adapting recipes and using the measuring jugs!

Further Ideas

Why not dress up and make an event of it by also making the pop-up 3D spiders (our next blog post soon to come)!

This idea can easily be adapted for Hawaiian themed beach party if you study ratio and proportion in the summer time. Check out the crazy cocktail resources, also available for free download from Number Loving’s resource site.

We hope you like our ideas and would love to hear how they went in your school!

Mathematical Whodunit?

30 Sep

Halloween is such a fun time of year and it’s great to try and bring some of that excitement into your classroom, I’ve never found a really good Halloween themed resource so at Number-Loving we set about trying to make some!

To kick things off we have a Mathematical Whodunit, this is born out of my love (and unbeaten record) of the board game Cluedo (To download go to numberloving.co.uk and click on ‘featured resources’).

The setting is the hotel ‘Spooksville’, the victim is the elusive ‘Mr Black’ and there are six suspects.

The idea is that students work in groups of 5-7, each assuming the identity of one of the characters. They each get a character card which gives them answers to three questions. On their turn they can ask a fellow player one of these question. There’s also a pool of general evidence for students to look at to help them in determining who the murderer is.

The task is quite complex so depending on the class you may need to structure it for them – e.g. tell them for the first 10 minutes they have to find out about the crime itself, then for the next ten they have to find out who had a motive, then who had the means and finally who had opportunity. But if your class are quite used to mysteries and open tasks then you can probably just leave them to it! The Maths is mostly functional and includes:

  • Interpreting time in 12 hour and 24 hour
  • Maps and scales
  • Speed, distance and time
  • Reading timetables and mileage charts
  • Reading bank statements
  • Applying logic and working methodically

In the resource I have summarised a few alternative ways to play – one idea being to get members of the department dressed up as the characters and play the game at an open evening or collapsed timetable day.

I haven’t used this with a class yet – I’m going to save it for my last lesson before Halloween, if anyone does use it I’d love to hear how it goes. You can tweet us @laurareeshughes and @numberloving. We will be adding more Halloween themed resources to our ‘featured resources’ on numberloving.co.uk so keep checking back if you like it!

Mathematical Taboo!

17 Sep

We have been a bit quiet on the blog since the Summer but we’re now back with lots in store for the new academic year!

To kick things off how about a game of taboo? Taboo is a really simple, fun and occasionally frustrating game where you have to describe a word to your partner without using the three ‘taboo’ words. These are an amazing way of consolidating key words and concepts as well as promoting communication and team work!

Instructions 

This works well if students work in fours and  split into two teams of two. Team one have say, two minutes to get through as many words as they can with one member describing and one person guessing. Whilst this is happening team two are timing them and keeping a close eye on the ‘taboo’ words to make sure they are not used. Once the time is up the teams swap over.

In the style of many of our resources these cards are differentiated. Each set comes with 8 green and 8 red cards. The words are taken from the key vocabulary in the national strategy, the red cards are words from year 7 and 8, the green cards are words from year 9. Students could split the cards into two piles and pick which one to play with or you could direct them, I often suggest they get 2 points for a green word and 1 point for a red word. So far we have 6 sets on Number Loving covering key topics.

Variations on the game

Once a word has been guessed additional points can be gained by guessing what the ‘taboo’ words are on the card

Students get blank versions and make their own with the key words from a specific topic or unit

How to download

We have just introduced a ‘featured resource’ section to the Number Loving resource site. Using this we will highlight our new or favourite resources. These taboo cards are currently downloadable from this part of our website – just click on the graphic. Next month we will be featuring all our Halloween resources – some old and some new so keep an eye out!

End of term resources

3 Jul


The summer holidays are almost upon us so here are some of our top resources and activities to see you through until the end of term. Have a great summer holiday from Number Loving!

Olympic themed resources

If you are after an Olympic themed lesson then try out our Olympic top trumps (download here) and Olympic mysteries (download here). With four mysteries to pick from and the solutions included there should be something for most abilities.

Also Kentishman has shared a wide variety of good quality Olympic themed starters which are well worth a look.

Other bits and bobs

Craig Barton has put together a collection of the top ten end of term resources available on the TES (try saying that quickly!) have a look here for some great ideas.

One of the best end of term games I have come across is Paul Collins’ Pirate game which is available on the TES here. Basically students place money and other symbols in a 7×7 grid, as you call out the grid references they get whatever they had placed in that square. With symbols such as the ‘steal’ which allows them to steal another persons money and the skull and crossbones which lets them wipe out a whole rows scores this is a very lively game which the students will love. I plan on putting a bit more Maths in (for example a ‘squared’ square which lets them square their total).

I discovered these blank Facebook profiles on the TES a while ago and was thinking of a way to use them. I plan on giving students a famous Mathematician and getting them to research this person in order to fill in their Facebook profile. Printed A3 and laminated they should make for an interesting display. I adapted the one off the TES slightly you can download it here.

This week I am doing a ‘sign post project’ with my Year 7’s to consolidate the work we did on measures and conversions. I wanted to put some sign posts up around the school with the distances to different places on, e.g. Science block 30m, Manchester  150 miles. So I decided to get the students to make them. I have split the class into groups and have given each group a different location within the school where their sign post will go. They’ve had to work out the distance from this place to other locations within the school and further afield, then convert their measures so they were all in m, km and miles. They’ve used trundle wheels and tape measures in the school and Google earth for the others. Here’s the PowerPoint I used with a bit more info on.

I often use my CSI mysteries towards the end of term for a fun lesson which still involves a lot of maths. See the collection on the TES here.

I’ll also be using Hama beads and this Cocktails project which I have blogged about previously. If we get any nice weather the cocktails go down really well!

If you use any of the ideas we would love to hear about it, tweet us @laurareeshughes and @numberloving.

Jubilee? We’ve got it covered.

24 May

Next weekend marks the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and gives us an opportunity in class for some royal fun (!) I will be using these top trumps cards as a starter which feature familiar faces from the royal family and sums relating to the number 60.

I will then be getting my class to try a mystery. I have made three to pick from (see resource on the TES here) across a range of Mathematical topics and each relating to one of the events taking place during the celebration.

As a plenary I’ll be posing the question ‘how many ways can we make 60’ and students will share their examples on the window (see below). They will have to use the numbers between 1 and 10 and any operations they can think of, the most imaginative solution will win a suitably British prize! If you use any of these resources why not let us know how it goes @laurareeshughes and @numberloving. For some other great jubilee themed resources check out this collection on the TES…

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