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We Can Work It Out 1

By Anitra Vickery and Mike Spooner

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We Can Work It Out - collaborative Problem Solving for the Mathematics Classroom is a photocopiable book containing 20 sets of group problem-solving cards to challenge and develop reasoning in the classroom.  Every activity contains clues needed to solve a problem as well as some red herrings.   This popular book has been a best selling title for the last two years.  Suitable for KS2 KS3

I regularly use this set as they so good for encouraging open dialogue about the maths topic both within small groups and across the class

Christine Watson


This was the very first ‘standing at the front being a teacher’ activity they did a couple of weeks ago whilst on an induction week in their placement school. They did it together and then separately so were able to deliver to a range of abilities and year groups. They loved it – it gave them a real buzz to see the engagement of the students!

Jane Moreton - PGCE Mathematics tutor speaking about two secondary trainee mathematics teachers using an activity from We Can Work it Out.  Read what the students and their tutor said below


PGCE Trainees: Elisabeth Afseth and Caroline Bowen, both PGCE students at the University of Worcester

 We used Inscribed Shape across 3 year groups, 7,8 and 9.  Inscribed shape is one of the problems from ATM's We can work it out! Collaborative problem Solving  for the Mathematics classroom.  The problem solving aspect of the exercises make them  appropriate across different year and ability groups.  You can leave the students to get  on with it with minimal guidance or, where needed, provide some support to encourage  them to focus on strategies to solve the puzzle.  The task encourages discussion among  students.  Working through the task clarified some of the  mathematical terms the students were initially uncertain about and they were keen to explain as we rounded up with a discussion of which cards provided the most useful information and what some of the less  familiar terms meant.  Great for developing problem solving skills, doing mathematics, using mathematical  language, working in groups and having fun at the same time


Teacher (Mentor):  David Ellis, Mathematics Teacher, Blessed Edward Oldcorne Catholic College, Worcester

A flexible, accessible resource, lending itself easily to rich discussion at different  levels. Well worthwhile.


 We Can Work it Out is also available as a PDF download

Review by Christine Watson 

Review by Diana Cobden 

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