National Strategies Secondary Maths Collection - ICT Supporting Mathematics: MPA
Collection Author: Craig Barton - Maths AST and creator of www.mrbartonmaths.com (TES Name: mrbartonmaths)
Mathematical processes and applications lie at the centre of the new Secondary National Curriculum in mathematics and are embedded in all units of work. They influence the nature of mathematical activities to be undertaken and provide powerful guides to teachers making choices about pedagogical approaches and classroom organisation.
ICT in mathematics enables us to present mathematical problems and activities in dynamic, visually exciting ways that engage and motivate learners. It helps to introduce, explore and represent concepts, structures and processes in new and revealing ways.
Often, dynamic images will permit insights and understandings that are difficult to convey in other ways. The examples included here, encourage the use of ICT to create and address problems.
ICT in mathematics offers powerful forms of representation, including on-screen images and computer models in various forms. Examples of using ICT to represent include:
- choosing an appropriate computer representation of a problem, trying out ideas and experimenting
- identifying variables to be considered in the computer model, for example, the parameters in an equation or probabilities in a statistical simulation
- selecting the mathematical data that needs to be entered into the computer.
The problems in this area are based around representing but will also involve the use of other process skills.
- This activity takes at least an hour and needs to be run as a group activity, usually pairs or three.
- This is an open-ended investigation during which small groups of pupils explore the accuracy of route planning.
- This is an open task that will encourage pupils to develop their representing skills.
Using ICT-based resources in mathematics can give us additional opportunities to foster pupils’ ability to reason. These include:
- making connections, for example, between an equation, a table and a graph
- visualising and working with dynamic images, for example, using dynamic geometry software to explore the properties of lines, angles and shapes
- making conjectures and generalisations fostered, for example, by use of the ‘hide and reveal’ facility of a computer
- exploring the effects of varying values, for example, in a spreadsheet or statistical model, posing the question ‘what happens if…?’
- taking account of feedback from a computer, particularly exploiting its rapid processing capability.
The problems in this area are based around reasoning but will also involve the use of other process skills.
- Pupils can engage with a variety of activities, including identifying all the different quadrilaterals they can make on the grid, investigating whether any are the same and other elements of geometrical reasoning.
- The aim is to get pupils to make conjectures about ‘what lies beneath’ from limited information.
- This activity is based around the idea of planning the building of a housing estate in order to maximise profit. It provides an ideal opportunity to develop pupils’ process skills within the context of a ‘real life’ problem.
The resources could be used on computers (and indeed to be more efficient pupils will need to use a spreadsheet) but can just as easily be used in a practical way.