- Effective Professional Development
In November 2008 teachers from Mt. Eliza, Mornington and Rosebud Secondary Colleges began our six day Engineering 'aha' Moments in Algebra course. The program ran through until late May 2009 in three lots of two days. At its conclusion all the work was gathered and fashioned into a story in our Research & Stories section. It is obvious from the student work in the story that these experienced teachers developed their personal teaching practices throughout the course.
Perhaps more importantly, they also developed their leadership skills...
In a separate email Maria commented...
Just thought I would let you know that Maria and I are spreading your wonderful resources and information. We have done a few sessions around the local area and are also thinking of doing some with the feeder primary school teachers.
Both Jodi and I have had a great time working with students in expanding our knowledge in the beauty of mathematics.
With Jodi's email came an Investigation Guide for Task 178, Match Triangles (see below) and an assessment rubric they use when students are doing either tasks or whole class investigations. They have offered both documents for all of us to share.
Our six day courses - there is one for primary and one for secondary - are designed to develop teaching craft and mathematical knowledge and to encourage leadership such as this. The evidence is in! These courses are effective. Is it time for your school, cluster, district or system to discuss these course with us?
Jodi & Maria's assessment contribution reminded me that there have been 'bits' of assessment information in various parts of Mathematics Centre. It was time to add a page to bring it all together. That has been done and you will find it in the Link List below. Perhaps you will choose to share assessment successes related to tasks and whole class investigations in the future. We also offer a one day Maths on the Move program titled Assessment, Recording & Reporting in Mathematics which might be useful.
- Swedish Maths Factories
Per Berggren and Maria Lindroth are known in Sweden for their PD work and involvement in the national mathematics teachers organisation. In February we introduced you to their Matematikverkstäder (Maths Factories) which contain:
But the strength of the resource package is that it is only available with a full day workshop.
- Maths300 membership
- MWA kits
- Poly Plug
- 3D Geoshapes
Now Per & Maria have organised a Matematikverkstäder web site to support Swedish teachers and orders for their services have been flowing in. You might not speak Swedish, but take a look at their site anyway using the Link List below. It is thrilling to know that the effort so many teachers have put into the concept of all students learning to work like a mathematician is being shared so widely.
- Rotagrams Are Back
If you were teaching mathematics in the 70s & 80s you may remember Geoff Giles and DIME Projects from Scotland. Geoff was a great supporter of our work right up until his death a few years ago. Rotagrams are just one of the neat maths education tools he designed as part of his professional development work. They are included in Task 214, Angle Estimation.
In recent times Rotagrams had gone out of production in UK and it pleases us greatly to be able to support what Geoff started by announcing that, by arrangement, these little devices are now manufactured in Australia. See Link List below for more details.
It is fitting that the first sale was to Heather Scott in UK to support her professional development work.
- Australian Mathematics Curriculum
The aims of this curriculum are:
from Shape of the Australian Curriculum: Mathematics, May 2009, page 5, items 3.1, 3.2, 3.3
- to educate students to be active thinking citizens, interpreting the world mathematically
- to appreciate the elegance and power of mathematical thinking
- to experience mathematics as enjoyable
- to encounter teachers who communicate this enjoyment
Jodi & Maria's contributions this month suggest they are well down the track in achieving these aims, even before the document is legislated. We know they aren't the only ones.
But perhaps the document itself does not fulfil its aims beyond page 5. If you haven't previously done so, you might like to read criticism of it from The Age, March 4th, by two mathematicians, Burkard Polster and Marty Ross, under the byline:
- New maths curriculum a feeble tool calculated to bore
If you have time, there are also 29 comments that readers have added to the article. See Link List below.
However the detail of the final document unravels, Mathematics Centre offers a great deal to teachers who want to build on its framework to develop a mathematics curriculum that fascinates, captivates and absorbs kids.
- Task 6, Counter Escape
The cameo for Counter Escape has been modified by the addition of a story-shell for the whole class investigation life of the task. It's all about the Intergalactic Good Guys saving the world. See the Link List below.
- Domino Trails Maths300 Lesson
It has come to light that Maths300 Lesson 95, Domino Trails, somehow disappeared from the library during the update back in April. It's a pity because it includes several excellent additional task cards that extend the introduction given through Task 15 which generated the lesson. However, Educational Services Australian have been informed of the oversight and will no doubt correct the matter as soon as possible.
...Your Task Centre: In the July News we highlighted the service Ina offers schools to bring their tasks back to 'good as new'. Just for fun she checked back through our records to see how many schools have taken up this opportunity in recent years. Fifty! That's fifty schools dedicated to continuing the Working Mathematically component of their curriculum despite the practical issues of 'mismanagement of bits' that sometimes occur. Every one of them has been absolutely delighted to begin again on the front foot.
...Mathematics Centre: is continuing. There has been a lot done this month, for example this page has changed, but the only thing you are likely to notice is how well it is all tying together. We were going to work on the Resources page this month, but shifted to Assessment as explained above, so Resources will get a makeover before the next eNews.
- Tasks of the Month
Two new cameos this month.
- Crossing The River 2 A classic problem from mathematical history that is no push over. The problem exercises reasoning skills (quoted by Polster & Ross above as the one compelling argument for teaching mathematics) without calling on any specific skills. Therefore it is accessible to anyone from middle primary school and perhaps earlier. As always, solving the problem is only the first step and much more is explored in the cameo.
- Match Triangles Another wonderfully accessible visual/concrete algebra problem demonstrating that algebra does make sense. A pattern is explored and generalised - in more than one way - and several chapters of the Year 7 textbook are addressed as the investigation continues to unfold.
Click a photo to access its cameo, or access all current cameos through the Link List below.
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