Results for "problem solving" (30)

The problem with problem solving

I believe Albert Einstein was once asked “If you have one hour to save the world, how would you spend that hour?”He replied, “I would spend 55 minutes defining the problem and then five minutes solving it.”When asking 20 mathematics teachers to define problem solving you are likely to get 21 different definitions. In its recent report Problem...

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-of-the-new...

Problem solving in mathematics: not such a new thing after all!

Problem solving is a key requirement of the new mathematics curriculum. The assessment objectives for the new mathematics GCSE states that a quarter of the marks at foundation level are awarded for students demonstrating their ability to solve problems, for the higher GCSE paper, the requirement is 30%.But as we all know, problem solving in mathematics is...

Confused by worded problems?

Whilst taking part in a professional development course run by NCETM (National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics) recently, we were asked this question:Laura had $240. She spent 5/8 of it. How much money did she have left?When asked this type of question, 78% of children in Singapore got the answer correct whilst only 25% of children in...

What are Fermi problems and how can they be brought into the mathematics classroom?

My biggest frustration is when presenting a problem to students and then watching them give up when they can’t see their way to the end of it. Encouraging students to take some initial steps in solving a problem is half the battle towards enabling them to solve it entirely.I’ve recently been working with students on this aspect of mathematics and have...

Getting ready for a new term?

‘Mathematics starters’ and ‘Year 7 New Starter Investigations and Activities’ are two lists of resources I have created using the National STEM Centre eLibrary:Mathematics starters contains a list of suggestions for a variety of lesson starters.Year 7 New Starter Investigations and Activities contains a number of mathematical investigations, practical...

Water: a calculated resource in mathematics

There are many water-based problems to be found in mathematics classrooms. How many times have you posed questions about filling up water containers, and then matching them with a depth-time graph?Then there is the well-known problem below:Two friends who have an eight-quart jug of water wish to share it evenly. They also have two empty jars, one...

How does the Mastery Approach help progress in mathematics?

How do we know when a child has really understood a new mathematics concept? Is it when they can show a whole page of ticks? Or when they can answer related word problems? Or is it when they get the question right in a test?As an SLE for primary mathematics, I have the luxury of regularly visiting schools in my local area to support in the development of...

Using Geoboards to develop mathematical thinking

I’m always on the lookout for more unusual questions about run-of-the-mill mathematics topics.When finding the area of a rectangle for example, students very often automatically look for the numbers to put into the formula. I was therefore intrigued by the area maze problems created by Japanese mathematician Naoki Inaba, as featured in Alex Bellos’ ‘Monday...

Making mathematics real

I remember a very energetic mathematics advisor jumping across an imaginary place value chart, demonstrating a physical way to help children learn about place value and multiplying and dividing by 10 and 100. Physically moving around is a great way to learn and adds to the multi-sensory approach used to encompass the variety of learning styles within a...

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