# Setting Up a Mathematical Debate

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by School Boy Error, Jan 8, 2012.

1. ### School Boy ErrorOccasional commenter

The objective I have is:
To be able to participate in a whole-class debate using the conventions and language of debate
Any ideas of what we could debate? I have a more able Year 5 class. The suggestion is different ways of multiplying 23 by 16 but that doesn't seem to exciting to me!!

2. ### bombaysapphireStar commenter

I'm secondary so not sure what Year 5 will have covered but how about looking at a common misconception e.g.:
<ol>[*]Two negatives make a positive.[*]Multiplying makes a number bigger.</ol>

3. ### School Boy ErrorOccasional commenter

We've done the first but I like the idea of the second! Thanks

4. ### blue117New commenter

<ol>[*]Adding a zero to the end of a decimal doesn't make any difference[*]Multiplication is always harder than addition</ol>Isn't there a set of misconception posters that would be useful for this? (But I can't remember where to find it!)

5. ### MasterMaths

I like the ideas put forward so far ... and the general theme seems to be misconceptions or "rules of thumb" which work sometimes, but not always.
You could also look at the techniques favoured by pupils in the class. For example, the various multiplication techniques. They can then divide into different camps to argue the benefits of their technique (either their favoured one, or one which you have given to them - so you can differentiate by giving the weaker pupils a technique which they prefer anyway, whilst stretching the more able pupils by making them argue in favour of something which they wouldn't have chosen themselves).
EDIT - deleted a line, as I completely misread your OP. So my suggestion is now similar to yours, but expanded a bit.

6. ### MasterMaths

Out of interest, is this the objective you have come up with yourself, or is it out of your hands?
I'm no KS2 expert, but isn't the language of that objective a bit confusing in itself?
Also, what do you want to get out of the lesson? Is it for them to improve their debating skills (which this objective would imply) or is it to improve their maths (in whatever area you choose)? If the former, then I would be tempted to ease them in to it by picking something they like and/or are passionate about (Bieber vs One Direction, longer lunch break vs shorter day). Once they're more accustomed to debating, then you can start bringing in things which they may not "want" to debate, such as the various maths topics already suggested.
I could be totally wrong, however.

7. ### School Boy ErrorOccasional commenter

It's from the Year 6 framework (A2) so I suppose from that point, in our school, I have to teach it. It's a little bit of column a and a little bit of column b. I would like them to improve their debating skills but I suppose the improvement in maths would come hand in hand with this..... I may be wrong though so I'll let you know when I've tried it!

8. ### penchoNew commenter

Very interesting.
I'm intrigued how it works with misconceptions.
For example "This house believes that multiplying by a number makes it bigger."
Surely someone just says muliply 100 x 0.1 and it makes it smaller. Case over.
Sounds really interesting to do.

9. ### AnonymousNew commenter

We used to have balloon debates. Maybe you could have children giving different methods for solving a problem and explaining why their method is best. Children vote out the worst method (bye, bye long multiplication )

10. ### School Boy ErrorOccasional commenter

That is always the problem. I guess it's a case of choosing something appropriate. My set would definitely get that straight away but I have the more able children I wonder if the lower sets would though?

11. ### ian60New commenter

How about 0/0=? Is it 0, 1 or undefined?
Not my idea, I remember another poster mentioning how they split their class into 3 groups and gave each a suggestion as to why the answer could be correct for each of the possible answers.

Or how about debating who should win a Racing Pig prize: 5 pigs race each other on 5 consecutive days. The times are shown below. Which pig should have been made champion?