Plot to make maths fun

25th May 2007 at 01:00
PUPILS AT the Royal School of Dunkeld can count on getting out of the classroom for maths lessons.

Every primary class has been allocated two periods a week to take advantage of the maths playground, a new resource designed, organised and stocked by one group of P7 pupils.

"I was looking for something to stretch my top maths group as they'd already passed their level E," said Katherine MacIntosh, a P7 teacher. "So I challenged them to create a maths playground."

From Christmas until last week, when the playground was opened, the pupils rose to the challenge, beginning with a consultation with teachers about what they'd like. They studied the 5-14 guidelines and when they had some firm ideas, dealt directly with the design company, Magic Markers.

But the pupils decided they wanted more than a few lines marked on the Tarmac. "They did lots of research to see what sort of games and activities could be played outside and then produced a learning pack for teachers, to give them ideas on how to make best use of the outdoor space," says Mrs MacIntosh, who was able to use money the school received from A Curriculum for Excellence and its local authority.

It is already an eco school and has a culture of using its outdoor space as much as possible, despite the weather. It has 10 different sets of markings, adaptable for a range of activities such as multiplication tables, angles and grids. There's also a trolley of brightly coloured maths equipment including large arrows, numbers, bean bags and giant coins.

The reaction to the playground and trolley has been sheer delight. "Before the launch, the pupils ran training sessions with teachers and pupils from other years and they all loved it," said Mrs MacIntosh.

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