Mathematics Teaching 238 - January 2014
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.
This year, 2013, we built on our discussions at May GC where we began to develop a shared vision for the future of the association.
It seems that since calculators first entered the classroom they have been demonised by sections of the community. Mention calculators and the term 'cheating' will never be far from any conversation. This piece might just be the beginning of an informed, and much needed, debate.
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'Same old', 'Same old', is no solution for learners with special needs in mathematics. Here the simple notion of 'number chains' has the power to engage learners, and to generate some surprising results. 'Number chains' was not a random selection, but a selection based on the mathematical needs, and the multi-faceted needs of the learners, as expressed by their teachers. What other simple ideas have a similar potential?
Building rockets became kids' play for primary teachers on this Derbyshire cross-curricular activities day.
Fluffy assessment, joined-up thinking, vision and future aspiration - Mike Ollerton and Daniela Vasile
Mathematics teaching cannot be divorced from the culture in which it is organised. 'Fluffy' assessment is far from being 'airy-fairy', it is challenging, revealing, broadspectrum, detailed, rigorous, and more. For each learner 'fluffy assessment' can tell a story that might be described as 'essential reading'.
Joining the dots: Transforming mathematics education with a coherent whole school approach - Helen Drury
A significant barrier to transformation in mathematics education is a lack of coherence. Is this a description of a situation you recognise? Something is happening now, and there is an offer of help to fellow travellers.
Specific formulae for summing power series up to the 25th power are derived using pattern recognition. Equations allowing the sum to be calculated for the general even power and then easily for the general odd power are also derived. The solution depends on distinguishing between sets of well-behaved and badly-behaved functions. Taming the badly behaved functions is the key. A conjecture akin to Fermat's.
Why is it that some music and some writings have the power to link with things 'stored' in the 'mind'? Reading the words from the page finds echoes within your own thinking. The writings shared here relate to professional practice. What would be your selection and, perhaps more importantly, why?
As a flea, Fred had never found MT easy reading. The glossy pages were so heavy to turn. So the new touch-screen devices were a godsend.
Covering one hundred students, for sixty minutes of mathematics, in the school hall, with little notice and no time to plan, what would you do? Might dance be on your agenda? This account describes how real mathematics 'happened' with the help of Runaway by Bruno Mars. It was fun, it was engaging, and it motivated learners to think about, and discuss the mathematics they were able to identify within the context of performing a dance sequence.
At conference the author attended what she thinks is a fairly useless session in terms of her work with students in school. She enjoyed the session but could not see how she might use it and therefore wished she had attended a different session. A little later she is asked to teach Geometric Reasoning and suddenly discovers that she was wrong.
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In classrooms often learners go unnoticed. There are many reasons for this. Here, a group of girls were 'invisible' in the mathematics classroom, and this invisibility seemed to have an impact on their learning. Clearly some form of intervention was needed, but intervention that would impact on the way in which these pupils 'behaved' as they learned.
Geoff has left the country for warmer climes but has made time to reflect on what running a branch involved.
The days leading up to the end of term, while welcome by all, can be a time when mathematical activity in classrooms becomes marginalized. By giving students the opportunity to create, make, play, and evaluate games mathematics can be sustained.
Another problem for the reader and students to work on. There is a link to the web-site where suggestions for use and a solution can be found alongside interactive files.