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Task Centre News
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These Swedish teachers are being introduced to the Maths300 lesson Billiard Ball Bounces during a workshop evening on April 28 for Syd-SMaL, the southern group of the national mathematics teachers organisation. The workshop was titled (in Swedish):
Mikael (and the school) could do better in Algebra
If you have read (are reading) the Millenium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson (the whole world seems to be) then you might recognise this passage from Volume 2:
Blomkvist had never had any trouble doing calculations. He had left secondary school with the highest marks in maths, which in no way meant, of course, that he was a mathematician, only that he had been able to absorb the content of the school's curriculum.
Stieg Larsson, The Girl Who Played With Fire, Chapter 11
The promo for the workshop went on to claim:
Mikael Blomkvist succeeded at school .. and yet the school failed Mikael. Mikael had classmates who did not absorb the content of the school curriculum. The school failed them too. In this workshop for all primary and secondary teachers we will explore how the school could do better for Mikael and his classmates. Our mathematics will come from the areas of Pre-algebra and Algebra.
The 'billiard table' the teachers are using in the photo is made from 20cm squares of card. The path of the ball is traced by a length of string. We assume the ball is fired at an angle of 45°. The billiard table size can easily be changed.
If I tell you the dimensions of the billiard table, can you predict the number of bounces?
Half way through the workshop, examples like this had convinced the primary and secondary teachers present that Mikael (and the school) could indeed do better in algebra. So we just rolled on having heaps more fun together - and of course coffee together Stieg - with mathematics.
There have been changes behind the scenes too. If you forget your username or password to Maths300, you can now click one of the links below the username/password boxes and enter the email address associated with your membership account (i.e. the administrator at your school of your Maths300 account). A reminder will be sent to that address. If you have any trouble with this, please email the ESA staff from the links on the site.
When you log in successfully, that email address shows on the first members' page. Please keep a secure record of your username, password and the account email address, and if the administrator needs to change (i.e. if someone leaves your organisation), contact ESA to update these details.
Ten years of history tells us that the start of the new academic year is a very busy time and it will be helpful to ensure that your new staff know how to access your Maths300 account, username and password.
If you have any queries about the new site or your account, please contact ESA by email or by phone on 03 9207 0600.
Through our conversations and a workshop experience Chris became convinced that learning to work like a mathematician in best practice classrooms is just as important for these learners as it is for school learners. In an email sent since the conference he comments: I really do feel that your learning materials have relevance to adult learners, primarily because you teach manipulatively/kinaesthetically.
Chris is now on our Distribution List. Are there other teachers of adults out there who could find value in the collected wisdom at Mathematics Centre?
Oh someone sent me an email about that and said I should look. It's amazing how much is there. I was digging around and got deeper and deeper into the Sphinx. After a long time I thought "I can't go any further with this. My head hurts. I need coffee."Thanks Helen, that's high praise. Come back any time ... perhaps with a take away coffee ... there's at least 40 years of collected wisdom through that gateway. And it's all public and free, unless you click on the Members section of Calculating Changes or Maths300.