Key stage 2

22nd September 2000 at 01:00
FAMOUS MATHEMATICIANS. Learning from the lives of key thinkers. Activities for key stage 2. By John Davis. Questions Publishing pound;14.99.

This enjoyable book looks at the life and work of 10 famous mathematicians from history; unfortunately there are no women among them. A short biographical passage gives some historical context and describes the subject's contributions to maths and other areas.

The most fascinating part, however, shows the relationship of the work to modern primary school maths with a variety of differentiated practical problem-solving and investigative tasks for children.

The capter on John Napier contains an exploration of ancient methods of multiplication, including Napier's bones, the Gelosia method and the construction of a simple slide rule. A chapter on Euclid leads to investigation of methods of constructing regular 3-dimensional shapes and rigid structures with straight edges.

There is much here that will stimulate pupils, not only in key stage 2, but also in KS3 and beyond. If you have the courage to try them and if you are willing to work on them yourself, the ideas in this book will enrich your lessons and your pupils' learning.

Peter Johnston-Wilder

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