Today I led the East Midlands West Mathshub Curriculum Development meeting. I had been asked to feedback about the fantastic presentation Jo Morgan (@mathsjem) gave at the last National Mathematics Teachers Conference (mathsconf). Her original presentation is discussed , and her subsequent posts are definitely worth a read.
My presentation is (hopefully) embedded below, and can also be viewed at this link.
It seemed to go well – I was pretty nervous with it being my first presentation to colleagues, all of whom had been teaching for longer than me – and I hope everyone there got something out of it.
I started the presentation with the following analogy that I had recently seen in the book “The Number Sense” by Stanislas Dehaene.
You are given two lists to remember, a personal address book
- Charlie David lives on George Avenue.
- Charlie George lives on Albert Zoe Avenue.
- George Ernie lives on Albert Bruno Avenue.
and a professional address book
- Charlie David works on Albert Bruno Avenue.
- Charlie George works on Bruno Albert Avenue.
- George Ernie works on Charlie Ernie Avenue.
I certainly struggle to remember this list, all the names just get far too confused. However, Stanislas has constructed this in such a way that if you replace the names with numbers then the home and professional addresses represent addition and multiplication facts. I think this is a really nice way of giving a bit of an insight as to why children with numerosity weaknesses confuse multiplication and addition facts.
Jo was kind enough to give me permission to hand out a copy of work book (which received some very positive comments) which I used in conjunction with some slight modifications to a few of her slides.
However, I decided to split the hour and a half (ended up being a bit less due to an Ofsted meeting happening at the University) into two, first of all looking at some software I have used in lessons or for resources, and some techniques I use to stretch the great group of Sixth Formers that I teach. I have been meaning to write blog posts about all of these things if I haven’t already, so hopefully this is the impetus I need to actually do this over the next few weeks – look out for them! I also briefly talked about how I believe that when teaching the numerical methods topics it is important to convey some sort of appreciation for how they would be coded, and pointed people to the post by Manan Shah (@shahlock) where he discussed how to teach programming without a computer.
Following this we looked at a few of the topics that Jo discussed in her talk, and I particularly promoted James Tanton’s website and videos. A while back – last year originally I think – I saw a method for factorising quadratics with leading order coefficients not equal to zero on a blog post by Jo (I really do pick up a lot of interesting things from her posts) and had always been a bit dubious of it. It is called the diamond method (explained in this video) and seemed a bit tricksy to me, but I used it last night during a revision session with some Year 11s who were really struggling with these and they all seemed to pick it up very quickly, and I am told one of them could demonstrate it’s use to another teacher this morning. I’m not sure I would initially teach it in this way, but it certainly seems to have its uses. Many people seemed to like the Indian method for finding out the hcf and lcm.
Please look at the presentation for further details and see the question sheet here. Also check out Jo’s posts on her presentation and topics (factorising, quadratics, highest common factor, sequences, linear graphs and surds) as we covered less than half of them tonight.
Thank you to every one who too the time out during the busy exam season to come tonight. I really enjoyed the conversations I had throughout the session, and it was interesting to see other peoples methods and view points on everything we discussed.