Monday, 5 March 2012

Week 1 Challenge Review

As per my previous post, I tried a few new things!

Count to a billion with Year 10 was not a huge success. Probably a third of the class had both the curiosity and the good behaviour that was required to get something out of this idea. Others did some timing and some calculations but didn't engage much in the investigation aspects, others offered some suggestions but produced no work of their own.

Some good points:
  • Everyone was involved in converting a large number of seconds into years, so at least some content was covered.
  • We discussed
    • the variation that would occur between different people and different estimation choices.
    • finding the mean of numbers and found an average of two times.
    • which large numbers would take the longest to say.
    • how maths in the real world is more like this, gathering information however you can, making choices, estimating, rounding, approximating, and not coming up with one correct answer, but one answer justified by working.
  • We practised saying large numbers.
  • Some of us had some fun.
Based on all that, and the difference in behaviour between the classes, I think it would work nicely with my year 7 class, so I'll try that later in the term.

Year 9 enjoyed "4 strikes and you're out" a lot, with some students quickly volunteered to come up and write their own. I asked questions about which numbers they could tell without guessing as we went, and was very impressed with some of their answers.  We used addition questions to warm up to the idea, then multiplication of fractions afterwards (what we were working on). Doing this on the board didn't engage all the students, and getting them to work in pairs would probably have been worse, but it was a nice thing to try.  Difficult with a large and poorly-behaved class (what isn't?).

Zero to Five was also quite successful. Some kids seemed to engage more with the examples on the board when using this strategy, asking more questions as I explained so that they could hold up 5 fingers. It was good for me to see the lower numbers come up and know that I needed to explain more. I told them "if you don't understand because you weren't listening to me, keep your hand down", which was also helpful to see!

Year 7s Weekend Homework Menu was fun. They had a choice of a game, a worksheet or a Tarsia puzzle. It took a bit of time, more than setting regular homework, but students came in one Monday showing me the puzzles and talking about the game, so it was probably worth the time. I think I'll have to review it again after a few more weeks.

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