Mathematics Teaching 170 - March 2000
Mathematics Teaching is the journal of the Association of Teachers of Mathematics. It is a professional journal sent to all members of the Association. It is not a refereed journal. Submissions are reviewed by the editorial team. Many articles have additional information or associated files placed on the journal website.
The Government wants more creativity to be fostered amongst teachers and students in our schools. They think this might be good for the economic health of the nation.
A league table might rank the performances of the Prime Minister, cabinet ministers, junior ministers and others holding office in the Government.
When developing cultures where pupils see their task as 'becoming mathematicians' one aspect is exploring how to work so that there is not the sense of pupils answering closed questions and then waiting to see what they have to do next.
It came as a surprise to discover that where the multiples of 3 and 4 come together, they give the numbers in the 12 times table!
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They hold getting the answer right in great esteem and do not see the value of explaining their working.
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Vicky even informed me that she was going to go home and work them all out now.
This is a two way process in which pupils are expected to play an active part by answering questions, contributing points to discussions and explaining and demonstrating their methods to the class.
My year 12 group are battling with the problem of finding the area of the completed fractal.
Peter arm was 35cm long and his baby brother foot was 8cm long. How old do you think Peter was? The use of language plays a crucial role in the understanding of maths.
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"Well, you'd better redefine multiplication, son, because this summer we are going to lay a lot of these patterns and I need to know in an instant how many tiles we need to bring for each of them. I want 4 x 3 to be 9 from now on!"
The moment pupils genuinely want to know, the subject comes alive and they can be led, or find their way, to understanding.
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I found that some of the methods I had been doing in my head, which I thought were wrong, were actually acceptable.
Several meals later, and after a peculiar break at Ascension, I'm finally putting foot to terra firma at Mount Pleasant Airport in the Falkland Islands.
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I compare the teaching of mathematics in England and Wales and in Pakistan, in both cases as I have experienced them.
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Assisting numeracy: a handbook for classroom assistants; Learning to teach mathematics in the secondary school; Gnomon: From Pharaohs to Fractals; Maths in a Box; The maths and human rights resource book.
To have been given opportunities to think mathematically and to have to provide proof at a young age obviously had a profound effect.