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Year 5 child working at level 7 in maths

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by dianemartin70, Jun 21, 2012.

  1. I have a child who will enter my year 6 class next year, who is already working at level 7. What do I do with him, as my class range from level 2c upwards. Are there any really good textbooks I can use which will enable him to continue to progress without much guidance from me?
    Any suggestions, greatly received.
  2. Get him to teach the class? :)
  3. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    The latest GCSE textbooks are pretty good.

    I quite like the AQA one. He would probably find the Foundation one a bit easy but the higher one would have plenty to stretch him.
  4. gravell

    gravell New commenter

    Foundation GCSE text book or resources?

  5. Please please please don't accelerate this child, regardless of temptation and pressure from parents. You have a child with a natural talent there and simply treading faster along the syllabus material will actually bring about an outcome that is not at all different to others.
    We have two year 7 boys who came to use with an A* in IGCSE Mathematics. We have spent a great deal of time on the UK Maths trust mentor questions, the NRICH investigations and puzzles, plus Maths Challenge materials.
    If you accelerate the child they will start to move towards 'education' outside of the normal peer context and this can be destructive. Also the pupil (and their parents) will end up chasing the next A* or qualification when they could be really engaging with the Mathematics.
    A true Mathematician is someone who knows how to handle Mathematics and not necessarily someone who has simply studied lots of it. Enrichment rather than acceleration is hard work for the teacher but massively beneficial for the pupil. I really can't emphasise this enough.
    Also if you accelerate then the next school will simply inherit a problem. Universities don't actually seem to see acceleration as the sign of a great Mathemtician. But someone who is an independent learner in the subject, someone who creates and solves their own problems is going to be something great in the future.
    Sorry to rant. I really feel strongly about this. Every year pupils come to us having taken something early (one of those pupils who had A* in Year 7 is now in Year 9 and his parents have rushed him through A-level modules. He's taken Core 3 A level and got in the 90s, but the Universitites will ask why he didn't get 100% if he's that clever!!!).
  6. I absolutely agree. It is so hard to do but worth it. I work with a small group of Y6 G&T pupils not quite up to the standard you are describing but pretty good. I don't do any work from other years schemes of work as such, it is more using what they know in a differnet way and getting a deeper understanding of the connections and patterns in Maths. Plus you don't want the maths to be contextually too old for the pupils. It still needs to apply to the childs age as well as ability.
    One of the resources my pupils in Y6 have really enjoyed but have found parts of it too difficult is ther DI Pi Mysteries by Rising Stars. It has a lot of difficult maths in it and does go up to Level 7 and 8 in some cases. They are some issues with them but could be a good starting point for resources.
  7. DM

    DM New commenter

  8. These are absolutely fantastic - for any age - really develops understanding [​IMG]
    Get the beta and gamma ones for older students too.
  9. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    and if this is the same Gardiner who wrote the old books about mathematical games and puzzles, those are well worth a look.
    Maybe some steps into old fashioned Geometry, which often gets overlooked these days.
    My favourite part of my degree was critical path analysis, I never came across this earlier and found it very easy. Bascially what order should you plan to complete tasks if your are going to build an ...."whatever... aircraft carrier.... house.... garage.... car...."
    And planning out how long each part will take. Easy to adapt for an open ended task for gifted youngsters.
    At level 7, I wouldn't think there is much in a GCSE foundation text book, except possibly the introductions to algebra.
    Code cracking, maybe even get in contact with the local forces and see if they can help, they have some great skills and are often ready to thinjk outside of the box.
  10. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    Agreed. He'll already be able to do all of it and would be bored by it.

    (Just looked at those Oxford books on Amazon.. I'll be getting a copy of each as, from the sample pages, they look like good books with lots of useful examples.

    I can't see how they're not "accelerating" though (something I'm in favour of anyway, BTW), it looks like they're covering the same ground as GCSE (which is to be expected, isn't it? the content of GCSE isn't entirely randomly made up - it's stuff you actually need to develop higher maths skills!)

    That's vaguely amusing for a day.. then it quickly becomes far too difficult - there really aren't than many people with the tenacity to attack something in a Vigenère cipher (though if he's also a decent reader and is prepared to tackle a series of teenage books with strong female lead characters, the final part of Kirsten Cashore's "Seven Kingdom's Trilogy", "Bitterblue" has the lead character taking months to decipher codes similar to the ones used by SoE during WWII). And, of course, modern ciphers are uncrackable anyway.
  11. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    No no, please do accelerate this child. But:

    Absolutely. Thing is though, the syllabus material is actually quite well thought out and is pretty much what one needs at whatever stage one is at to progress....

    And when, exactly, does the normal primary teacher get the time to do that "hard work"?

    Sorry, but this enrichment typically has to come from outside the school..

    To quote a good friend who is also SLT at a local school, "Well, that's their problem, isn't it? Why should we do something that is not in the child's best interests simply to make it easier for his next school?"

    And I agree with them. There's no point in a child taking an exam before the normal age (bottom set behaviour issues excepted) unless they're going to max out with it. If he's not getting 100% then the excess time should be being used to get him to that standard - or else what is the point of taking the exam early? (to make the school look good? to make the parents look good?)
  12. Indeed, Paul G The parents got their boy to take these Core papers against our advice, so it's nothing to do with making the school look good.
    What you say 'DO accelerate' can you suggest which topics you would use first, and why? As for the SLT member saying 'their problem', well yes but it's also a problem for the student. If it makes like easy for the school that they start in, well great, but there needs to be some responsibility for the pupil's overall progress. If we all washed out hand of such repsonsibility the moment they leave the school then I'd be surprised if we were teachers in the first place. Interesting that you SLT friend appears to believe that enrichment isn't in the interests of the pupil. I cannot see any logic in that. All SLT members that I know believe the exact opposite.
    When the pupil accelerates through the course how and when does off-syllabus material get done? This is important because it's actually what sets the pupil apart from the rest. Clearly the universities don't consider the acceleration to set the pupil apart?!
    As for finding time, well we're all expected to differentiate. If parents need to look outside of the school for giften and talented programmes then the education system is letting them down.
    Incidentally you believe in acceleration not then not taking the exam. Well then why not ENRICH and EXTEND rather than accelerate?
  13. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    I think it's because I'm not entirely sure I understand the difference.

    From my point of view, the biggest problem we have in teaching, well, anything, in schools at the moment is the drive to "show progress" in every lesson - squeezing out consolidation.

    So, to me, once someone has mastered something, consolidated it and can consistently demonstrate that mastery in a variety of contexts, then it's time they moved on.

    If they do that at the rate defined in the scheme of work, we'd call that "making exceptional progress" - but, if they're doing it even faster (maintaining, note, the consolidation and demonstration in a variety of contexts), then, IMHO, they've just "making progress". Call that acceleration if you like, but I believe it's just proper differentiation. (Unfortunately it's such differentiation that most class teachers will not be able to support it.)

    Oh yawn, yawn Vivian! It's simply not possible for a human being to do everything our stupid unions let the government write into the job spec and that needs to be yelled loud and clear instead of pretending we're all superhumans and only the incompetents who let the side down can't cope with differentiating every lesson to the exact needs of perhaps 250 kids a week, some with EBD, some with extremes of other special needs and others "just" very bright.

    Oh I agree. Trouble is "system" is usually translated as meaning "this particular teacher".
  14. I agree with Paul, acceleration is a brilliant thing. I'm absolutely certain that there is something the OU do in terms of free modules for pupils at school. You can get him some 1st year credits for free through the OU and really push him. I can't remember who was going on about it, but no university would have anything to turn their noses up at if the pupil had attempted some of those courses.

    Would you like me to investigate, or will you?
  15. tafkam

    tafkam Occasional commenter

    Can I just ask: by whose reckoning are these children working at level 7?
    When I first moved to my middle school, I inherited a KS3 department with a reputation for getting 5-10% of students to Level 8 in maths by the end of Y7. The reality was that they had an excellent exam-training routine for the top 10%, drilling to old KS3 tests (which, of course, the woman running the KS3 acceleration route new inside out).
    In my first year I stopped it, and sent only a handful of L7s at the end of the year, because despite their excellent skills in responding to straightforward questions on a test paper following algorithms and the like, but had virtually no real understanding of some concepts, and virtually no Ma1 skills.
    Of course, one could argue that if you can pass the tests then who cares. Personally, my priority when teaching Maths is to help create mathematicians, not maths-test robots.
  16. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    Two of my sons were in this position. They did a bit of 'extension' Maths and mostly had to sit through years of things they already knew. I saw two possibilities, either for them to do something else, like music practice,which I offered to come in and supervise or to do some Maths that's interesting but not covered in school.Neither of these happened. They had to 'do' Maths, in spite of the fact that they already knew everything that was being covered. The school wasn't equipped, or didn't have the capacity, to anything appropriate with them. They'd reached this point by themselves. I certainly never pushed them, because I could see what would happen if they got ahead, but they got ahead anyway. The younger one, in particular (who HASN'T gone on to do Maths at university...) read secondary school textbooks for pleasure when he was at primary school, read all the Ian Stewart books he could get his hands on and even some of my husband's university maths books. They would rather have done no Maths at school than have to do the same as everyone else. They would happily have sat in a corner and read a book but this wasn't allowed either.
    I really don't know what the answer is. They had similar problems at their not especially academic secondary school but they did have the benefit of two fabulous Maths teachers who took them under their wing and did lots of interesting things with them. But they still had to sit through the normal and boring lessons! It was only at A level theythey really started learning again. I would definitely say that doing no Maths at all is an option, rather than romping ahead. If different Maths can be taught that's brilliant but I don't think there are many schools with the resources to do it properly. The G&T Maths group at their school ws taught by a lady who was stumped by a level two Maths test on a TA course we did together!
  17. Yup - it seems as though secondary teachers often fail to understand how difficult it is to get appropriate provision for strong mathematicians in primary school, even when the teachers involved are willing and do their best. My son, in his 3rd year of school, had an excellent teacher, but one who was somewhat maths-phobic; she could handle the maths she normally needed to teach that class, but there was no way she was going to be able to help him with problems he couldn't solve unaided, and at 6 he had limited tolerance for being stuck without help available. After discussion, we ended up giving him a GCSE textbook to use in lessons, because giving him easy questions on new material seemed better than anything else that was practical. (He had extrapolated arithmetic including fractions and decimals from minimal information, and his teacher in the year before had enjoyed stretching him, so he arrived at his third year with KS3 pretty much under his belt.) We are fortunate that since that year, he has been taught by maths specialists and so it has been practical for him to spend most of his time working on challenging problems, rather than speeding through syllabus; this is undoubtedly better. Even so, when he meets (or invents) a new piece of material, he snaps it up almost instantly, with practically no need of repetition. This means it's impossible to stop him continuing to get further ahead. At this point, conversations with Heads of Maths who pontificate about how bad it is for children to be accelerated, and can't be drawn on what they'd do with one who arrived already accelerated, are serving mostly to rule schools out of further consideration.
    Note that the OP asked for something that would let this child "continue to progress without much guidance from me". Even granting that a Y7 child presumably has much greater tolerance than a Y2 child for being given a bunch of Nrich problems and told to get on with it, it could well be that the alternative to acceleration is - nothing at all. It scares me to think about how many children are permanently put off maths because of lack of challenge at primary school. I think my son is unusual, but not nearly as unusual as we might think if we just look at what children can do and how they feel about maths at 11. The most unusual thing is that his school has been able to able to help him keep developing. Good on the OP for asking for help.
  18. So let me make one positive suggestion in case it's useful: if a computer is available for this child to use, Alcumus is a free, online site that provides a graded stream if challenging, non-formulaic problems, with generally good solutions available and some video lessons etc. Might make one convenient ingredient in a solution.

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