February 12, 2011

Special Project

“when have you seen maths being used outside the maths classroom?” “in French….un, deux, trios”

My goodness finding Exhall Grange was HARD! I walked for MILES! Eventually got there and found my group. They were great to work with.

Initially we struggled a lot with this concept. We were going to be working with 6 pupils whom all had severe learning difficulties and one of whom was in a wheelchair. (It turned out there were 2 in wheelchairs, one of whom had a muscular disability). All pupils were in year 8 and were attaining Level 1’s.

Firstly we didn’t know what Level 1 really involved. Then we didn’t know how to overcome the mobility issue. We also had a pupil with vision impairment. We then didn’t really know where to pitch the maths. We also didn’t know if they would have a problem with bright colours. We decided Patterns was a good topic to go with.

Our first steps were to find games. We found some big dice, some place cards and some board things. But we didn’t really have a mathematical subject that we wanted them to learn.

Eventually we realised that we couldn’t possibly teach a new topic effectively and so we should work on enhancing their mathematical skills. That is why a lot of our three-hour lesson focused on the real life application of mathematics.

I led a session that involved them looking through the Metro newspaper looking for anything that they considered to be mathematical. With this they looked at the importance of the date, phone numbers, prices, sums of money, page numbers and I was able to give them random general knowledge about each as well as encouraging them to talk about times when they have seen maths used outside in the real world. It was fantastic!! The girl, who was in a wheelchair, and struggled with talking, said she saw it in French – when they counted the numbers in another language!!!!!!!

They all talked about what their parents did and managed to find some use of maths in all their jobs. They loved it. Was great.

Ian led his session on multiplication using the big number placards. It was a way to multiply using big displays for numbers. More practice for them. Can’t be a bad thing. They liked getting the questions right. And when Ian introduced the cubes for a competition, they really enjoyed using them to count and roll the dice and compete with each other. We played dominos as an introduction to the pattern work and they seemed to take that on very well.

Rachel then talked about patterns in the world and gave the example of the clothes and plants. The pupils were so interested it was great. I don’t think they had thought about these things before. Was lovely to see.

She then got them making their own patterns using the cubes and this led to jewellery making! They absolutely loved making necklaces! We put the condition down that there had to be some sort of pattern to the necklace which they had to explain and all were able to do this.

I am so glad I got to teach like this, but it is very difficult. I don’t know if it is something I could do everyday. It must be so hard to actually make an improvement to these kids and prove it. I have a lot of admiration for the teachers who do and I hope their work can be made easier somehow. 

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