BEYOND THE TEXTBOOK – Maths Week Ireland
Douglas Buchanan ~ firstname.lastname@example.org ~ www.dcbeagle.com ~ @dcbeagle1
Reflecting on Maths Week Ireland 2021
Once again, I had the privilege of presenting during Maths Week, sadly only through ZOOM, and it is always enjoyable meeting the “young mathematicians” and the staff. The question one asks is, “Why do we have such festivals and are they necessary?”
For me, it allows me, as a teacher, to question the teaching of maths in my classroom and whether change is needed. Was it a waste of time or was it just “ticking the boxes”?
“During the week did I see mood changes during the lessons? Yes, and they were positive, why? The teaching methods and the approach to the lessons were different so the question is, “Did the young mathematicians learn anything?”
There was more enthusiasm and interaction. I welcome that but I would never get through the curriculum during the academic year if such activities are introduced in many of the lessons.”
Yes, that may be the case that certain topics would only be skimped over but if you did finish the curriculum were the pupils “with you all the way”? This could be judged by the commitment and the behaviour in the classroom
Maths learning is a cognitive process and the less recording done the better which leads to an improvement of the numerical skills of young people. Much of the typical maths lesson is more of a handwriting exercise or filling in the boxes. Doing practical work through puzzling, conundrums and apparatus is more effective.
The more oral work and puzzling will help children who have problems like dyslexia. The pupils may not complete the puzzle but what effective processing did they experience, were they committed, did they feel they failed?
This is a wonderful debate and if anybody would like to discuss my thoughts do feel free to contact me.
Resources for homework / “wet” breaks / enjoyment
Number Boggle – a great way to develop addition and subtraction skills.
Make 24 – four values are given and using them all, and any of the basic operations, the solution has to be 24. Adults: try 3 3 8 8 to make 24!!
Maths Fun with Board Games
Trantrix – traditional tile activity which will develop spacial awareness and strategies Krazydad.com – great site for Sudoku-type activities and there is a section of puzzles for young people such as a 4 x 4 Sudoku grid
Murderous Maths – an entertaining website with several practical projects such as making flexagons and looking at magic squares. Kjartin Poskitt’s video shows are great fun.
Setting up a Maths Board
With the advantage of the internet you and, more importantly, your pupils, can look for interesting articles and facts involving maths and they can be presented on the Maths Board.
Did you know: “In a room of 23 people there’s a 50% chance that two people have the same birthday.” Test it out!
Happy Christmas – not quite!
I have found several websites offering maths activities related to the Christmas Theme. These can be found at the bottom of the Maths Links page of my website.
I do hope you have an enjoyable and safe second half of term.