Maths - Let's see how you like it

7th December 2012 at 00:00

What it's all about

"Mr Tennant, Jonny still can't do long division." The concerned mother was focused on a gap in her nine-year-old son's maths, while I was thrilled that my class were motivated, engaged and loved problem-solving, writes Andrew Tennant.

Their enquiring was outstanding. They were making mistakes, learning from them, and using cooperative learning and peer-to-peer discussion to discover solutions unprompted.

So I set up a class for parents. As a warm-up I gave out calendar pages with names of the months removed, and asked them to arrange the pages in the correct order, working in pairs. Immediately, they started discussing strategies. Three minutes passed and correct answers were spread neatly across each desk.

Next, we played a few strategy dice games before discussing the merits of the activities. They found them fun and inclusive.

Over the next hour and 20 minutes, I put questions on the board (x + 24 = 38) that gradually became harder (x(3) + 2x - 4 = 432.875). The "class" listened to their peers to agree on the most efficient methods and all answered correctly.

"What have I taught you so far?" I asked. One parent shouted, "Nothing!" That was the point. I had introduced a question and acted as a mediator, while each problem was discussed and the solution presented collectively.

I concluded with an excerpt from a presentation on YouTube, "Did You Know?Shift Happens", which explains the world we live in and that children who leave our schools will need to know how to learn.

What else?

Work together using the TES Collective Memory maths collection, bit.lyCollective Maths. Practise basic angle rules in a team game from nottcl, bit.lyAngleRules.

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