Today Cathy, Nat and myself attended the Maths APSMO Professional Learning Day. Personally I love the Maths Games that I have been completing with my mixed ability class. I have found the questions appropriate for the range of abilities in my class and it has also set up a safe space to just ‘have a go’ and learn from great mistakes.

We began with discussing the terms ‘exercise’ and ‘problem’ and identifying where they happen in certain questions. Example: Are the following sentences an exercise or problem?

a) 12 ÷ 4 =

b) What is 12 divided by 4?

c) How many times does 4 go into 12?

d) Here are 12 counters 0000 0000 0000

Share these counters equally between 4 people.

How many counters does each person get?

“An exercise is a task for which the procedure is already known.

A problem is more complex because the strategy for solving may not be immediately apparent. It requires some degree of creativity or originality on the part of the problem solver.”

Lenchner (2005). Creative Problem Solving, p.2.

Anne spoke about the Syllabus model and how working mathematically is at the centre of everything. Majority of the time this component is left to the end of the week/unit which should be the tool used for incidental teaching. She then addressed how to lead students to problem solving which was awesome AS WE ARE ALREADY DOING THIS WITH QUEST (Go Sam).

4 steps to problem solving:

Understand the problem - Connecting to other problems

Devise the plan - Choosing strategies

Carry out your plan - Do it

Look back - Checking

Ideas that spoke to me most:

- Students will apply maths that is 3 years old in their brain to a problem-solving question so the early years of number development are CRUCIAL

- Discussion and constant dialogue is most important within a lesson so students are able to explain their thinking processes

- Realistic problems, content and pictures should be used to write questions/problems

- To avoid students guessing the right answer straight away, encourage them to start with a ‘halfway’ answer as the great mathematicians behind the scribing of these questions will NEVER make the answer the number in the middle

- To adjust a question and make it more structured simply descale numbers, nothing else needs to be changed

Now a challenge for you….

A BARNYARD PROBLEM

I know that there are 18 animals in the barnyard. Some are chickens and the rest are cows. I counted 50 legs in all. How many of the animals are chickens and how many are cows?

APSMO Facebook page