Bowland Maths: Case studies
I have used Bowland Maths resources for many interview and observation lessons in my career (thankfully with some success). “You Reckon?” was always a great go-to resource.
“You Reckon?” was designed to introduce the idea of ‘plausible estimation’ when making decisions about important topics- and debunking spurious claims. It contains masses of great questions to get students thinking. The introduction includes the following:
When will the world's oil reserves run out?
How much land would be needed to build a wind farm to supply 25% of London's electricity?
If the sea level rises by 50 cm, how many people will be homeless in Bangladesh? London?
What will be the population of Europe in 20XX?
An earthquake destroys Istanbul - how many people are homeless, how much water, food and housing is needed, and how long will it take you to get it all there?
What would it cost to give every pensioner another £10 per week?
Can I afford to run a car?
The activities help to promote mathematical reasoning – the problems have to be broken down into simpler components; multiple approaches are rewarded; and pupils have to communicate well.
My students were often intrigued by a lesson that prioritized 'back of an envelope' calculations and common sense. One of my favourites is ‘Heart Beats’, part of the 5 lesson blocks included in the resource that comes with detailed lesson plans, associated materials and teachers' notes. It states:
Kate, Aminda and Amadej all had their 14th birthdays last week.
Kate guesses she has had about 20 million heart beats, so far.
Aminda thinks that estimate is too low, but Amadej thinks it is too high. What do you think?
The idea is immediate and students are always quick to engage. “Your Reckon?” also contains a range of ‘Sprinklers’- shorter stand-alone activities- which can be sprinkled amongst normal lessons, such as:
The World's longest conga line happened on 13th March, 1998 in Little Havana, Miami.
119,986 people took part.
William is organising a charity event to form a conga line from London to Brighton - about 55 miles (90 km).
Can he be sure this line will break the record?
You can also find some great ‘One liners’, including this one:
Julie plans to spend her summer holidays walking the length of the country from Land's End to John O'Groats. This is about 1100 miles. How much time should she take off work?
Most of the Bowland Maths Case Studies require more preparation than the activities above, and some also require soon-to-be-obsolete flash software. However the resources still have lots to offer, and there is a lot of detailed support if you are planning on using them with your students.
For seven of the most popular Case Studies, Bowland developed comprehensive guides to help teachers to assess pupils' achievement and progression. The Case Studies with Assessment Guides are:
Keeping the Pizza Hot
Reducing Road Accidents
Save a Baby Kangaroo
There are also a series of 7 video-based training modules aimed at helping teachers deliver Bowland Maths.
“You reckon?” remains my favourite case study- what is your favourite?