Cre8ate maths is a fantastic set of rich mathematical activities developed by the Centre for Science Education (CSE) with the mathematics lead from the Mathematics Education Centre (MEC), of Sheffield Hallam University. They have been created to support schools in Yorkshire & Humberside, and are focussed on the 12 priority industry sectors of the area. Activities are based around the chemical industry, food production, childcare and many others.
I have had the great pleasure of being involved in a project involving the Central & East Manchester High Schools. We have pursued a project started by universities in Manchester and across Europe.
The LEMA (Learning and Education in and through Modeling and Applications) Project was developed to support teachers to incorporate mathematical modeling in their classrooms so that learners gain experience of using mathematics to solve substantial problems. Full details can be found on their website: http://www.lema-project.org/web/eu/tout.php . Several Maths teachers from the City worked with the University of Manchester on this last year.
In conjunction with funding from the Greater Manchester Challenge we decided that we should continue this project to develop resources for Key Stage 3 (11-14yrs) that would cover the requirements of the new National Curriculum.
In a nutshell, LEMA tasks are open ended mathematical problems that require an assumption based model in order to solve. By their nature they help develop pupil: Personal, Learning & Thinking Skills; Functional Skills and show the Cross Curricular Dimensions.
Here are a few of examples:
We have met a number of times and created 3 complete sets of tasks, one for each standard topic in the Maths curriculum. Although a joint effort, a great deal of the effort and credit must go to Dave & Leanne from the Maths department at Wright Robinson Sports College.
If you would like the full set of tasks we have produced so far they are available here: Y7 Core, Y7 Support, Y8 Core. Tasks for Y9 will be available soon. Although split into specific years and abilities these can easily be mixed and matched to suit most classes.
Key to successful LEMA lessons are the skills of team working and communication along with being able to make suitable assumptions to solve the problems. At first pupils will need some guidance on how to tackle a task like this but we have found that they quickly adapt to the problems and develop the skills needed. Groups of around 3 to 4 pupils seems to work best. Once they are used to tackling the tasks it is possible to start getting groups to present their work, both as posters on A3 and as oral presentations. I think that these presentations are key to improving our pupil’s ability to verbalise their maths.
I hope these are of use to other teachers, again, I can only take a little credit for this – it’s been a great collaborative effort. I hope we’re not using the LEMA name without permission either, this part of the project has not been completed in conjunction with the universities.
What have you been doing to teach the skills required for the new curriculum?
Have you any suggestions for similar tasks?
Are there any other resources along these lines available on the Web? I can recommend Dan Meyer’s ‘What can you do with this?’ series: http://blog.mrmeyer.com/?cat=70.
I have been meaning to blog about a project I have had the pleasure of being involved with. The post hasn’t quite reached fruition yet so here’s a little teaser:
How tall is the Giant? How did you work it out?
Answers on a postcard (or preferably a comment )
I thought it time to share some of the resources that I use frequently and perhaps I take for granted. 1st up, nrich:
nrich is a great UK website that is chock full of rich mathematical problems suitable for pupils from 5-19.
The website has a teacher or pupil view. Following the link to the teacher section gives you the option of searching by ability range, looking at various curriculum mapping documents and looking at the monthly problems. Each month a new set of problems are added and answers are invited from the public. This can be good incentive for pupil completion, promise to send in the best examples! Puzzles are split into 5 stages, these nominally follow the UK Key Stages, 1 being early primary school up to 5 being A-Level.
I sometimes use these as homeworks, group tasks, extension tasks. They really can be used to spice up any lesson. These puzzles and challenges fit in well with the new KS3 National Curriculum.
So get searching, there’s bound to a puzzle you can use for the topic you are teaching tomorrow!
EDIT: For reference the Stages follow the UK Key Stages:
- KS1 = 4-6 yrs
- KS2 = 7-11 yrs
- KS3 = 11-14 yrs
- KS4 = 14-16 yrs
- KS5 = 16-18 yrs
I tend to mix & match as appropriate to each class, searching by topic first and selecting a puzzle appropriate t0 their ability next.
The new KS3 Framework has a renewed focus on using and applying Maths along with developing the Personal, learning and thinking skills and the Cross-curricular dimensions introduced with the new National Curriculum.
On reflection the content which we need to deliver has changed little and so with some tweaking our previous scheme of work will suffice in structure. This statutory change in the manner in which we deliver the content and offer opportunities to put the Maths in context, develop pupils personal skills and link in with other subjects can only be a good thing in my opinion.
There are a number of fantastic resource banks out there full of ‘rich’ mathematical tasks which we could use:
nRich: Hundreds of puzzles and investigations, updated monthly.
Kangaroo Maths: Particularly Using & Applying and Enrichment sections.
Bowland Maths: New resources designed specifically with the new curriculum in mind.
Defence Dynamics: Interactive resources / lesson plans based on real world scenarios from the MoD.
Of particular interest are the Bowland Maths resources, these have been produced by the Bowland Charitable Trust in conjunction with the NCETM. To quote their site:
‘Bowland Maths makes maths fun for pupils aged 11-14. The aim is to help change pupils’ views of maths by increasing their motivation and enjoyment, which should help increase their confidence and their competence. A second aim is to help teach maths in a different way.
The Bowland Maths materials look very different from most maths teaching materials. They consist of innovative case study problems, each taking 3-5 lessons, designed to develop thinking, reasoning and problem solving skills – as in the revised Key Stage 3 curriculum. Each case study is different, but all provide pupils and teachers with problems that are fun and engaging, while also being a rich maths experience. The case studies are not remotely like answering questions from a book. For Portraits of the case studies, click here.’
As a department we will be reviewing a number of these resources and planning their integration into our teaching over the coming weeks. I will add more in the future about any particular highlights.
Have you any other links to quality resources to enrich Maths teaching? How is your department tackling these changes?