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Looking for investigations along the lines of 'is it possible to get an adult through a hole in a piece of A4 paper?'

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by Betamale, Jan 16, 2011.

  1. Better known as PE or Drama?
    With all due respect, if they did sit down learned the number bonds and basic counting then the challenges on nirch would be more accessible to them. Maths inverstigations are great but very limited when pupils cannot do basics.
    I think at this stage your requirements for 'activities' are not really suited. The idea of more than one solution is great but only when kids are comfortable with that idea. IMO that doesnt come before basic numeracy skills.
    If your level 5+ kids really are that (which is very high for a year 4) then differentiate for them and the requirements you have are part of a balanced maths diet.
    Level 1-2 would be ideal yet they dont need to be running around or not reading...the majority of maths isnt structured in that way
    If kids are weak and you want to avoid reading I think that avoiding skill building by having fun all the time, in the main, is not conducive to learning.
    Im not against 'investigating' but I am not an advocate of simply making everything fun when there are no solid foundations.It just snowballs to a point of them having no idea of basic numeracy
    For G&T you may find some good materials here
    CIMT is here for all levels and some of the questions dont require running around
  2. I think your idea of investigations is a super idea - particularly if you group the LA with the HA - they'll learn a lot in terms of investigative skills and the HA's will need to explain what they are doing clearly which means they will be developing their reasoning skills.
    Basics are important, but for the child who is struggling, something like this is a great idea as a break. Plus, they're excellent for team building within the classroom too.
    There may be something useful on this website

  3. There's the egg drop.
    Where each team has paper, foam, string, sellotape, sticks, straws, think plastic for parchutes etc.
    The have to support their egg so it won't break when dropped from a height. The winning team is the one which does it with their supporting structure weighing the least.
    Basic exeriences with weight + height should be explicitly discussed with students so the get better at estimating weights and hights. Interesting discussions/exploration re. acceleration and velocity can and should be had if possible.
  5. I think the launch point has to be quite high or this (3m) to get the parachutes working so the chidren naturally talk about 'constant speed' and 'accelerating/getting faster'. Obviously there will need to be some test runs part way through the project.
  6. A good task of this nature is an unsupported bridge

    You will need lots of pieces of wood ... Each 50cm long ... Cut from a length of 5cm by less than 1cm (these measurements are guidelines)

    Start at the edge of the table and, by use if these sticks alone ... Build out from the table ... Who can reach the furthest

    Great team activity ... Will naturally encourage discussions about length and balance AND fractions

    In my experience students will engage with this task and it can lead to a lot of mathematical discussion

    Also ... You do not need to split into ability groups ... Some of your weaker mathematicians may have really good instincts regarding this and they will learn mathematical language from others in the group
  7. Re betamale's post

    There are 2 main problems with children when they start secondary school maths

    1. lack of basic knowledge, understanding, and application ... These need to be addressed

    2. Children who think they cannot do maths ... That it is hard/boring/something they always fail at ... The sort of tasks that you want to use will help these students to see that maths can be interesting and that they can engage with it
  8. Betamale, I'm absolutely not trying to replace basic skills with investigative fun. I am looking to build up a repetoire of investigations that can be used to enhance maths lessons and to help convince the children that maths is something that they can enjoy. Some of them have reached Y4 and have already written themselves off in terms of maths so I need to do whatever it takes to get them back on track so that when they reach Y7 they believe maths is something they can participate in.
    Previously I've taught Y6 and it's an upward struggle to convince such children that they have what it takes to be a mathematician but, if I can challenge this perception now by building their confidence, encouraging enjoyment of things mathematical and also by addressing the gaping holes in their knowledge then their Y5+ teachers will have an easier task and the children will have a happier time.
    Thanks to all who've put forward suggestions... I'd completely forgotten about the egg parachute challenge (which will link rather well with our science topic next half term - solids and liquids).
  9. On point 2. Sure I agree but motivating kids by making things less boring has led to some awful numeracy problems as well as poor work ethic and control of classrooms.
    Teachers seem scared to sit kids down and drill them with the basics through fear of losing control in the class of a roasting on observations. Sit them down, drill them on the basics and then let them explore rather than primary schools messing about with kids 'finding themselves' and 'abstract' tasks and hand them over to KS3/4 where they can do that rather than trying to build a foundation on weak knowledge
    No child (IMO) who struggles to add two numbers, know basic multiple facts or has no appreciation of place value/number line should be doing anything but numeracy regardless of any PC/SEN suggestions thrown at teachers.
    By the last year of primary I was ready to explore as I knew numbers, I knew how they connected and could make generalisations rather than having a mathematical roulette wheel as a brain.

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