Maths - Getting in on the act

15th February 2013 at 00:00

What it's all about

Maths and drama do not seem obvious bedfellows. But after watching a superb lesson blending the two at a primary school in Norfolk, I thought about similar things I have tried with my sixth-formers, writes Jonny Griffiths.

One approach is to turn to "people maths", based on People Maths: hidden depths by Alan Bloomfield and Bob Vertes, which you can download from the Association of Teachers of Mathematics website (bit.lyYBucDh). This uses people to form the moving pieces of a mathematical activity, be it a puzzle, a sum, a diagram or a demonstration.

The results are fun and the learning powerful. I have used this idea to tackle sorting algorithms in decision maths, where a list of numbers has to be sorted into an order using an effective rule.

Ask some of your students to write their numbers on mini whiteboards and line up at the front of the class. Get another student to read out instructions that the group must follow closely. Two other students with mini whiteboards should keep count of the number of comparisons and swaps that take place as the algorithm proceeds.

Somehow, the physicality of playing out the algorithm makes it more memorable, and makes comparing algorithms more direct. The potential for "people maths" ice-breakers at the start of the year is obvious.

What else?

Can your pupils crack the clues to reveal the identity of a murderer? Blend maths and drama in maths126 's activity. bit.lyMurderMaths

Pupils practise arithmetic to save the human race from aliens. Make nicolawaddilove's lesson as interactive as you dare. bit.lyMysteryMaths.

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