Outdoor maths lessons ideas

Discussion in 'Primary' started by celago22, Aug 3, 2018.

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1. celago22Occasional commenter

Hello all,

I would like to plan an outdoor maths lesson (no area of maths in particular) for my Y3 class for the first day back. We will be working on place value from the first full week back.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to what we could do?

Thank you.

2. Lara mfl 05Star commenter

Presumably you're working on addition and subtraction?

If leaves have started to fall, get them to collect leaves. Then get together with a partner an add them, ditto when they get into a group of 4. then you can total how many in the whole class.

Or a traffic survey? Provided they can be within the school grounds to watch and not have to go out on the pavement.
do have plan B in case it rains though.

3. celago22Occasional commenter

Thank you for your reply Lara mfl 05! I could ask them to count leaves then could ask the children to find other pairs who have more/less than they do, so could bring in some vocab early on.

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4. Lara mfl 05Star commenter

Brilliant extension.

5. caterpillartobutterflyStar commenter

For year 3?????? I would do this with reception or with year 1.

Maybe collect three kinds of leaves and use them to represent hundreds, tens and ones. Draw a place value chart on the playground with chalk and then see who has the most.

Can I ask why you want to do this on the first lesson? Most teachers would be going for the serious and strict impression on the first week or so to set the standard, and then heading off outside only when they feel the can relax and they know the class well.
The first day back should be settling the class into the routines of school, it pays dividends later.

6. Lara mfl 05Star commenter

Agreed it may be simle, but even in year 3 some will be at a lower level. I was thinking myself of extending the activity using h/t/u on sugar paper so they could see just how 'big' 10 /100 are. But i'd sort of assumed the OP would think of that for them selves.

7. celago22Occasional commenter

Thank you for your replies. We will be introducing place value formally in the second week back so I want this lesson to be a pre-cursor to that. I was thinking of doing a maths trail and getting the children to count in different multiples e.g 2,4,6,8 but having read these comments that might appear to be too simple for Year 3.
The idea behind doing it on the first day (last lesson) is simply to ease them gently into y3 as we have planned some really intense lessons in the weeks that follow. I do understand your viewpoint about getting children to work straightaway but as my class are very well behaved I don't have any major concerns about taking them outside.

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8. caterpillartobutterflyStar commenter

A maths trail using a variety of activities from the year 2 curriculum could be a great assessment tool. Or use concepts from the year 3 place value as a pre teaching assessment.
By the end of year 2 children should know their 2,5,10 times tables and be able to count in 3s and 4s. So getting them to count in multiples of 3,4,6 or 8 should provide differentiation.

I definitely wouldn't be doing this last lesson on the first day, and I've had a class of just 12 very well behaved year 3s this year. Both you and they will be shattered and so your lovely well behaved class are unlikely to be so by then and you will likely be too tired to deal with them effectively. Keep it for the last lesson before half term or something similar.

Last lesson on the first day would be better used recapping how the class rules have worked that day, mentioning the 'over and above' behaviours you have seen and then extended story time to really get into the class novel.

9. Lara mfl 05Star commenter

I must admit neither would I. But I am aware 'younger teachers' have a different approach.

10. caterpillartobutterflyStar commenter

If the OP wasn't an NQT, I might not have mentioned the fact I wouldn't do it.
I do honestly believe there are a zillion ways to be a fantastic teacher and room for all kinds of personalities and methods.

I'd hate for someone to finish their very first day as a teacher with their 'lovely' class utterly out of control and their carefully planned 'fun' lesson a disaster. As long as they have the confidence to think 'sod this, we're going in' if it starts to go wrong, then hey have a go.

I don't subscribe to the 'don't smile until Christmas' approach, but there is some value in keeping things calm and routine for the first few weeks.

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11. celago22Occasional commenter

It was my parallel class teacher who came up with the idea to do an outdoor lesson. Given that they have many years of experience, I am not really in a position to question their ideas.

To be honest, I have no qualms about delivering an outdoor lesson but that could be down to my own naivety and lack of experience. I'm keen to give it a go and if it goes wrong then I see it as a good opportunity to be firm, get the children to go inside and reflect on their behaviour. The next time we have an outdoor lesson, the children will know what is expected of them.

Maybe I am hugely mistaken and I will be commenting on here next month about a disastrous first day!

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12. caterpillartobutterflyStar commenter

I doubt it!

Have fun, but be firm.
And get your parallel teacher to come up with an activity!

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i saw a very experienced year 3 teacher doing some really good physical outdoor maths outdoors with lower ability, involving bunny hops to do adding and subtracting on a sort of huge number line. From memory working either side of zero.
Lots of chances for measuring which brings in place value
one of my favourites is finding real examples of the various shapes appropriate for the age (bikes re great for unusual shapes)
regarding behaviour, a very good chance to find out quickly who you can trust to work without direct supervision and who needs their seat moved to the edge of your desk. Also who can think for themself and who cannot even find 0 on a ruler.
Another option. Have a look at MathsBox on line, they include free samples and offer premade "treasure hunts" for all ages and Maths topics. about £50 for the entire scool and I recommend them to the house

http://www.mathsbox.org.uk/index1.php

treasure hunts are listed under "topic"

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14. celago22Occasional commenter

Thank you for your reply, hammie! Mathsbox looks great but for some reason I can't access the treasure hunt material in the free samples (the site comes up with an error). I will have another look tomorrow.

My idea is to get children (in pairs) to practise counting in 1s, 2s, 4s whilst throwing bean bags to each other then a maths trail where they count in different multiples (2,4,8,50 etc) e.g. "How many steps from the two football goal posts? Each step is worth 8" then back in the classroom to fill in the missing numbers in sequences. Does that sound okay?

Like you, I think it would be a great opportunity for me to assess their behaviour, find out who works well together and set the tone for expectations. I have accepted that I will make mistakes this year!!

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15. Over_the_hillStar commenter

I would not do this either as my first Maths lesson will be all about expectations in books and practising number formation. But you have already explained why you are doing it. I think you should start by thinking what do you want them to learn and then thinking of activities to support that. I wouldn’t let the activities drive the learning objective. What are you trying to achieve from the lesson? Anyway it sounds like your children will have fun and I hope the sun continues to shine for you!

16. caterpillartobutterflyStar commenter

What is the intake like in your new school, in terms of ARE?
Counting in 4s and 8s is part of the programme of study for year 3, ie should be taught during year 3. If your new school has a higher than average intake, then you might be ok doing this on the first lesson of the year. If it is fairly average or below, then it may be too hard.
Conversely counting on 1s while throwing a bean bag to each other is way too easy and I wouldn't ask them to start there. Counting in 2s should be fairly easy, so a good place to start on the first lesson.

Counting steps should lead to a great discussion on why we all have different answers and that we can still all be correct. Again making a sequence of multiples of 8 will likely be too hard. My school is well above ARE and only about 2 of them would have been able to do this in September. Maybe use 3s and 4s, with 2s and 5s in your mind for those who need something easier?

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17. celago22Occasional commenter

The majority of the class are working at expected standard, I have a few who need to recap counting in 1s and 2s and I have a group of G&T children who could easily work through the 4s and be challenged even further.

For this activity I thought about having them in mixed ability groups so that my HA (hate labelling by ability...sorry!) could help my LA and my TA could work with my very LA children to ascertain their starting point.

Is it okay to ask children to count steps in 4s? It may be hard to monitor what they are actually doing and I don't want them to count in 1s by default!

I feel like I am making this more complicated than it needs to be and need to strip it back to basics but unsure how the logistics of the main task will work.

18. caterpillartobutterflyStar commenter

What do you want them to learn?
Counting in steps other than 1?

Teach and practise this in class...there is probably a song on your tube.
Then go outside and give the instruction to count the steps in 4s. Could do length and width and so on.
Then come back in and discuss why you all have different answers.
You could also then discuss how you can get from counting in 2s to counting in 4s...and then double the answers from your lower children. (I would have them with you and leave the TA to do crowd control. Then you get to know them and can guide them to counting in 2s.)
Plenary could be discussing how you counted in 1s for your steps and how can we multiply by 4? Could lead to partitioning which leads to maths next week. Leave your calculation on the working wall and answer it in a few weeks time.

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19. celago22Occasional commenter

I want them count in 2s initially (so like you say we could practise this in class) then in 4s (some may be able to do 8s) however a small group will need help counting in 1s and will need to be guided to count in 2s.

At least in the lesson they will learn the relationship between multiplying by 2 and multiplying by 4 and some could extend that to multiplying by 8. My G&T children could work with bigger numbers/reasoning e.g. will the numbers in 2 and 4 times tables always be even, why?

Really like your idea for the plenary- thank you!

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20. JenkibubbleOccasional commenter

Numbered skittles - half fill empty 2 L plastic bottles with sand / water , number them and kids order them e.g. 13 , 31 , 131 ,311 etc . Stretch them to see what highest , smallest numbers they can make from a combination of numbers .
Never taught y3 so unsure of maths objectives !