Ask the doc

When you are at sixes and sevens with your maths, numbers can take on a whole new shape. They become ugly and intimidating and can make you feel sick.

Maths shouldn't be this agonising, but if the headaches don't go away after 24 hours then you might want to consult an expert for help.

In this scenario we ask children to adopt the role of agony aunts or doctors who reply to letters sent to them about our maths problems.

For example, you could write this problem on the board: Dear Dr Corner, I've been arguing with my friends about angles. You see, I think angles with longer lines are bigger than angles with shorter lines. They don't seem to understand my point. Can you help?

Yours, Angus, 9 Now organise children into maths buddies to co-construct a reply. Post replies on an ideas board and come together as a class to look at the responses given. This unites talking, listening, reading and writing in mathematics and enables children to explore and evaluate ideas collaboratively. Take a Dear Doctor activity four times a term and see how you get on. You can always increase the dosage if need be John Dabell is a numeracy consultant and teacher trainer

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