Opinions

Why is learning fraction arithmetic so difficult?

I have recently attended two events, both concentrating upon the teaching of fractions in schools.As part of the Shanghai teacher exchange programme, I recently observed a teacher from Shanghai teach a mathematics lesson in a local secondary school. Much has been said for and against the merits of these exchanges, so I wanted to approach the...

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Should primary school children be learning times tables by heart?

The new curriculum requires children to all memorise their times tables and has caused two leading mathematics experts to speak out.Jo Boaler, a professor of mathematics education at Stanford University has spoken of how timed multiplication tests cause anxiety for many children, blocking their working memory and preventing the recall of...

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Perfect problem solving with Bojagi

As a mathematics teacher, I like to start the term with some basic number skills with my KS3 groups. This choice is grounded in solid reasoning: check the pupils have got a grasp of the basics before moving on to another topic. Prime factor trees make great display work, and Pascal’s Triangle can have the ‘wow’ factor. But how else can that start-...

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Outdoor learning in primary schools

Rosie Hancock teaches at Brayton CE Primary School, she has been a primary school teacher since 2011 after qualifying at Leeds Trinity University College. Rosie is one of 50 teachers to win £1,000 for their schools as a result of their entry in the Rolls-Royce Science Prize. In this article she outlines her entry for the prize and the effect it...

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Smile and the world smiles with you

Smile and the world smiles with you’ so the saying goes. At the National STEM Centre we have something to bring a smile to the faces of mathematics teachers in primary and secondary schools up and down the country.Visit the eLibrary and explore the wealth of resources produced by the Secondary Mathematics Individualised Learning Experiment or...

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Make mathematics magical

I am a little confused. Well, no change there then!Nicky Morgan has announced a war on illiteracy and innumeracy and is expecting students to learn up to the 12 times table.My first confusion came from watching the Prime Minister, at a news conference, refusing to answer 9 x 8, claiming that he only does times tables in the car with his children...

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What do you want to be when you grow up?

What do you want to be when you grow up?“Athlete”“Doctor”“Actor”“Fashion designer”Sound familiar?When asked at the age of 14 what I wanted to do when I grew up, I answered “football player or coach.” Maybe I was still riding the high of watching Leicester City beat Tranmere Rovers in the FA League Cup. Maybe it was the years of playing football...

Beatrice 'Tilly' Shilling: Pioneering engineer

Beatrice Shilling is my chosen STEM champion. In 1924, Beatrice Shilling in her mid-teens decided she wanted to be an engineer. Seventy-five years later, in my mid-teens, and completely unaware of the great history of my chosen profession or the great women who had entered into it, I made the same decision. The work of Beatrice Shilling was...

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What is a big number?

 The draft proposals for the new A level mathematics curriculum calls for students to interpret real data presented in summary or graphical form and use data to investigate questions arising in real contexts. I think that students at all ages benefit from interpreting ‘real-life’ data.Here is an opportunity for your class to contribute to...

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Manipulatives in modern mathematics

Who likes mathematics? I do!I never used to as a child. No matter how hard I tried to carry out the list of multiplication and division calculations on the board I always seemed to get the answer wrong. I was puzzled. I had followed each step my teacher told me, so surely I must be correct?Through sheer determination and a lot of hard work I...

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