- Working Like A Mathematician at St. Bede's
Thank you warmly for the continued newsletter delivery, these are valuable. I thought you might be interested in our 'aha' moment with (Task 123) Bob's Buttons.
Today for Mathematics, and totally by accident, Bob's Buttons was completed with 113 counters. The children loved that we could not create equal groups but always had a plus something. Having only investigated groups of 5, 6, 7 and 8 it is not reasonable to conclude that no other amount could share evenly. So it is on ... can we prove that 113 is a prime number?
Year 4, St. Bede's Primary School, Braidwood
Certainly interested Alicia. Love the opportunistic teaching implied by the words 'totally by accident'. The concept of proof is critical in the work of a mathematician. I wonder if the children will discover that they don't have to explore every possible factor from 1 to 113.
See Link List below for Bob's Buttons.
- Working Like A Mathematician at Monbulk
I just love all the various activities and try to do a couple for each topic that we teach. Cars in a Garage, once tweaked, suited the Year 11 class and since many are on their L plates was even more engaging.
I trialled it today for the first time with my Year 11 students. I extended it further by printing the coloured car sheets (from the Maths300 companion lesson) and giving each pair of students a whole sheet. This enabled us to explore combinations where you have several cars the same colour and to also do selections both with different colours and some the same.
The activity worked so well, it was not long before they were wondering how to do 6 x 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 very quickly and some found the ! button on the calculators themselves.
Maths Learning Area Coordinator, Monbulk College
See Link List below for Cars In A Garage.
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Picture Puzzles are investigations stimulated by visual cues and presented to pairs of students through your own server using any computing platform.
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Learn about, purchase and download Picture Puzzles through the link in Link List below.
- Working Like A Mathematician in Tanzania
My name is Barbara Kerr and I have been working in Tanzania for the last 3 years. I have contacted you before. Mathematics is taught by rote and there is no understanding of basic concepts of Mathematics or Working Mathematically.
I have been using the Maths300 lessons in the schools and in teacher training sessions with great results. Some teachers here lack the basics in Mathematics so the sessions end up being learning sessions for the teachers.
I have also been working with the Academic Officers in my area for two years now analysing the government exams and identifying the problems and how these problems have come about. What I want to do now is show them the Working Mathematically process and how they can start using it.
Here they teach 'one way, one answer' and that one way is nearly always an equation. To be honest, 'always' an equation. My biggest problem is getting students and teachers to guess, try, estimate, talk in the class and ask questions. My focus is following the Working Mathematically process. As it says at the bottom of the Working Mathematically PDF, "If one way does not work than I start again another way." The problem is, here there is no other way. Just getting students and teachers to understand exactly what a question is asking is a huge job.
Last year we were asked by the Tanzanian Maths Association to take part in Pi Day celebrations in Dar Es Salaam. I did the Area of a Circle activity using the corner square with about 200 secondary students. At the end many students came up and said thank you because they finally understood. Love those moments.
I did the 'First Principles Percent' lesson with teachers last year too and one of them said, Oh is that what percent is. I didn't know percent was out of 100. They had been taught the formula and that was it. Luckily the Swahili word for Percent is Asili mia-Asili, coming from 'mia' which is 100.
I have included some photos of the children doing Circumference of a Circle. The man is Mr Msuya the Ward Education Officer. He is very supportive and helps out in all our class work and seminars. The story with the circumference of a circle photos is an interesting one. Teachers said students were having trouble with this and I asked if I could help. I said I could get students estimating the circumference to within about 0.2 of he correct answer without them putting pen to paper. They laughed so hard they had tears. I insisted that if they gave me a class I would show them. We did the activity and by the end of the lesson the students could estimate to within 0.2 of the correct answer. I have done this in 6 schools and with the same result. No nasty calculations and students estimating.
It was a huge step for both teachers and students. Not to mention it did wonders for my credibility. The grey hair helps here too.
For more of Barbara's contributions to Mathematics Centre type her name into the search engine on the home page. You will also find the Maths300 link here.
|The small photo I have attached the Rectangle Fraction lesson with teachers. We do mini PD sessions each week in our schools to help build teaching strategies and teaching for understanding not just rote learning. Fractions of shapes is taught here but not fractions of numbers. This causes big problems. Each aspect of Mathematics is taught in isolation.
It is a big job but I live in an amazing village 2000m up Mt Kilimanjaro and work with the nicest people.
- Tasks of the Month
Two new cameos this month.
The Task Cameo Content Finder has been updated to include these tasks.
- Tetrahedron Triangles links nets with number patterns and algebraic representation. The challenge is to find the number of unit triangles required to build a series tetrahedron of increasing size. It doesn't take long to realise that the answer is four times the number of triangles in one face, but how do we count the triangles in one face? The cameo explores three ways.
- Triangle Perimeters links polyiamonds (shapes made with unit equilateral triangles) with perimeter, using the side of the equilateral triangle as the measure. The investigation is really a double investigation. On the one hand searching for all the forms of a particular size polyiamond. On the other searching for a link between the size of the polyiamond and its set of perimeters. Some spatial perception puzzles using all 12 hexiamonds are also included in the cameo as extra challenges.
Click a photo to access its cameo, or access all current cameos through the Link List below.
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