Recently I had the opportunity to attend a Maths workshop presented by Mark Philips and the Mind Action Series Textbook publishers. I signed up on a whim because of the topic, which was Euclidean Geometry. In my experience it’s one of the most poorly understand topics by learners. I hoped to learn some new approaches that would make the time I spend on this section more productive and ultimately improve the learning outcomes.
- Focus on the Process
- In Geometry, do exercises first & then theorems. (Build’s awareness before complexity)
- Allow learners to do well in early tests to build confidence
- Build confidence through slow ascent in difficulty
- Don’t be so preoccupied with Time
- Spend 80% of the Time on Basics and 20% on the Harder Questions for most classes
- Encourage learners to move around and do physical stuff – Eg Circle Dance
- Use narratives and stories in your teaching – especially those involving relationships
- Make Learners Feel about the Topic, see above
- Humour & Novelty are important – keep learners on their toes
- Integration between Mathematical Topics important
- Get Learners to make their own questions – higher cognitive levels of thinking
- Understanding Mathematical vocabulary is important – specific practice on this is warranted
What stood out for me
So the biggest surprise for me was how for the most part, our attention was held throughout the 3hr workshop. It’s no easy feet to keep a room of 40 + teachers on a Saturday morning engaged, talking about content that they cover every year. The presenter was really skilled at keeping people on their toes and you never quite knew what was coming next. The amount of movement in the session also stood out for me as well as the clarity and size of the visual aids. The presenter also showed a depth of understanding on the topic and vast experience teaching it, which meant his comments were specific and helpful.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I learn’t in the session. It is not always the case when going to Maths Development workshops. I took detailed notes and they are reflected in the key ideas section above. I also managed to grab a clip of the Circle Dance (below), which was a fantastically creative way to remember the circle geometry theorems. I am struck by how useful it is to have a development session with a teacher who is a real master of their craft. More of these types of workshops would be brilliant for the development of best practice among Maths teachers.
The Circle Dance
Additional Resources from Workshop:
I have been experimenting with making my own videos and creating a “flipped” classroom environment for a couple of years now. However it hasn’t been a smooth journey, rather lots of little experiments with different tools and approaches.
I recently made a series of videos for my grade 11 Maths class and got really positive feedback, so I thought I would share my workflow for any other teachers out there conducting these type of experiments.
The tools I used were my Macbook Pro 13 inch mid 2012 , my Galaxy Note 10.1 inch Tablet (N8000) with the very useful S-Pen and then the App – Explain Everything. I also knitted together everything using iMovie. Continue Reading
At the beginning of this year I tried out a new way of discussing and defining my classroom Rules with my learners. It was by no means perfect, but it felt like a breath of fresh air compared to the top down heavy authoritative processes I had used before. The purpose of this post is just to define the basics of what I did and to open the concept up to other teachers so it can be further refined through collaborative discussion. Below is a brief description of how the process works. Continue Reading
With the amount of Mathematics content online now a days, I often find the biggest challenge is sorting through what to share with my students in class. Often resources appear usable at first, but then as you dig down deeper there are issues with alignment to the curriculum, notational differences or just confusing accents. However every now and again, you find a stand alone unit of work that has been handled particularly well and is ideally suited to being used in your class. In this case I try to do a blog post about it, so I don’t forget to use it in Future! The content below is taken from the Khan Academy program on Algebra 1 and is a fantastic introduction to the concept of a Function in Mathematics. This is a foundational concept but can be tricky to explain. This unit allows students to proceed at their own pace and build up a solid understanding of the concept.
Link to the Unit on Functions from Khan Academy
Using this unit in your class
I also added some additional resources at the end that I sourced from the Web to test my students understanding, since I largely run this unit as a self study module
Concept of a Function – History
A while ago I found the most delightful animated series on YouTube that explained the foundations of Euclidean Geometry delightfully. I decided it was so good that I needed to start off my GR9 unit, showing these videos to my learners. Below are the videos together with some other resources I have collected, related to this unit of work Euclidean Geometry.
Full Playlist Link
A fun review of Terminology
Euclidean Geometry Basics
Terminology about Lines
Solving for Angles with Parallel Lines
Solving Basic Calculations using Euclidean Geometry Facts
Angle Relationships in Parallel Lines and Triangles
Every now and again I come across Fun Social Media Posts about Mathematics, normally in the context of solving some sort of interesting problem. I thought it would be cool to capture them for use in class and so I started this gallery.
A while ago I started compiling a collection of fun resources related to the basics of Trigonometry. They will be most useful when acting as a supplementary resource to classroom instruction.
Intro to Trig
Understanding the Unit Circle Definition of Trig
I recently put together a collection of Calculus Resources for GR12 Maths in the SA Curriculum, using the tool EDpuzzle and learning content available by Mindset Learn as the base. Hopefully they can prove useful to other Maths Teachers out there.
Calculus Intro + Functions
Definition of Derivative
Example of Derivative first principles y = 1/x
Maths 12-2 A Guide to Differential Calculus