Making mathematics engaging for all

28 January 2011

Over I00 teachers and advisers met at Clothworkers’ Hall on 27 January 2011. Here is some of what they saw and heard.

FREE curriculum and CPD resources from  Nuffield Applying Mathematical Processes (AMP), Bowland Maths, and others

Applying Mathematical Processes (AMP)

Maths and music – some of us can look at a music score and hear the music in our heads. For others it remains a mix of meaningless symbols. Vinay Kathotia suggested that for many learners, mathematics is the same. How can we make it a more meaningful and resonant experience?

What is the relationship between learning maths content and maths processes? How do students actually attack a maths problem – what processes do they go through? How can we help students to develop their skills and their understanding of their own learning?

Researchers study these questions, but how can we use their findings to improve classroom practice?

Jean Carnell who worked on the GAIM materials on which AMP is based, Diane Crann of the Royal Institution, and Vinay Kathotia of the Nuffield Foundation

Jean Carnell who worked on the GAIM materials on which AMP is based, Diane Crann of the Royal Institution, and Vinay Kathotia of the Nuffield Foundation

Discussion of progression in maths

Nigel Langdon and Delroy Dunkley at work on an AMP task

Nigel Langden and Delroy Dunkley at work on an AMP task

AMP progression charts can help teachers and pupils assess their progress, but do pupils understand them? Would it be better to translate the charts into pupil-speak or even have the pupils craft their own?

What activities can help pupils develop their process skills and become aware of their progress?

See the Nuffield AMP resources for work in progress on these issues. Nuffield AMP

Bowland Maths

Alice Onion showed Bowland CPD modules which included examples of formative assessment in action – see and hear for yourself how it is done. 

In one video you can hear pupils saying that a teacher’s comment on their work is more helpful than a mark and a comment, let alone just a mark – just what Paul Black and others say in Beyond the black box.

Katy Marshall, Alice Onion, and Christina Moody

Katy Marshall, Alice Onion, and Christina Moody

Discussion of formative assessment in maths

Teachers need to make students explicitly aware of strategies they need to solve problems, and that a mix of strategies is needed.

Looking at each others’ work helps pupils progress – ‘I hadn’t thought of that!’

Encouraging students to talk about their ideas is good for learning, but may be hard on the teacher.

Students need training in peer assessment if it is to be more than cursory, and there are plenty of opportunities for it to be influenced by their social relationships.

Videos, case studies, and other resources available from Bowland Maths.

Shane Walsh and Elnaz Javaheri deep in discussion

Shane Walsh and Elnaz Javaheri deep in discussion

Engaging with maths

A range of other organisations highlighted the resources and opportunities they offer for making mathematics more engaging for all

Further Mathematics Support Programme • Liverpool Fun Maths Roadshow • Mathematics Inspiration • National STEM Centre • NRICH and other Millennium Mathematics Project offerings • Royal Institution • UK Mathematics Trust

 

Cedric the Golden Ram welcomed delegates to Clothworkers Hall

Cedric the Golden Ram welcomed delegates to Clothworkers Hall