Monday, 22 February 2016

Monkey Business


2016  is Year of the monkey


The Monkey is ninth of the 12 animals in the recurring 12-year Chinese zodiac cycle.
Every 12 years there is a Monkey year.
Monkey years are all multiples of 12, from 12 AD, through 1200 AD, to now in 2016.
How many monkey years can you list in 2 minutes?
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Number skills must be mastered early in secondary school if we want to keep the other topics accessible to students.
From great maths teaching ideas


This post from William Emery  got me thinking about what we do on a regular basis to ensure mastery of number skills. I also wondered if we mapped the NZ Mathematics & Statistics curriculum in the same way, would we likely get a similar result.
Top of the list of essential skills for success 
  • Multiply & Divide whole numbers followed by 
  • Add & subtract whole numbers then  
  • BEDMAS (BIDMAS BODMAS .... ) 
place value & decimals are clearly highlighted. 

This probably comes as no surprise, the visual though caught my attention.


This post has 5 ideas that could be used to get students involved with numbers to ensure they build confidence and have the pre requisite skills for success at higher levels.

1: Build fluency 
Underpinning students success, is fluency around mental & written computation of the 4 operations.
Numeracy Ninjas, a free Key Stage 3 numeracy intervention, designed to fill gaps in students’ basic mental calculation strategies, is a comprehensive resource for regular practice.

2: Connect with their world

2016 is the year of the Rio Olympic games.  
Sport gives us the chance to engage with mathematics in may ways.
The maths & sport website created for the London Games in 2012 is a useful kete of ideas for incorporating number.

The wiki created by Ngaire Addis: Kowhaiwhai - Geometry of Aotearoa is a wonderful resource for the teaching of transformation geometry that is uniquely New Zealand. Translation, rotation , enlargement offer plenty of opportunity for using numbers.


3: Explore number sequences:
http://www.stockfreeimages.com/p1/fibonacci.html

Take a look at famous number sequences odd & even numbers, square & triangular numbers, Fibonacci & prime numbers

This post on Great Maths teaching ideas has a number sequence card sort ready to go



4: Delve into the stories behind the numbers

BBC documentary: The story of 1 is just one of many great videos available



You might like to delve into things like Pascals triangle from the TedED website. TedED is a treasure trove of lessons ready to engage students. I like the way the Watch, Think, Dig Deeper, Discuss structure of these lessons involves students thinking on different levels.

5:  Use number "games"
I am a fan of Jo Boaler & having students building an "I can do maths" attitude
The You Cubed web pages are filled with ideas to build number sense.



How close to 100,  was always popular with my year 9 & 10 students. One person rolling the dice & the whole class racing to complete their rectangle. The first time students play this they tend to randomly fill in squares, however they soon realise a bit of strategic thinking is required if every square is to be covered. Using 100 squares allows for quick fire questions around fractions & decimals. For a shorter game chunk the board down to 10 X 6 
Bowl a fact is a simple activity from NZMaths that encourages critical, creative thinking.
The age old four fours found on Maths is Fun is another puzzle could be used as a starter to look at other patterns like 3 threes, five 5's.
These two activities encourage students to keep working at a problem until they find a solution. whether it be on their own through trial and error or working with their peers.  Solutions that don't work are just one step on the way to those that do.

Further reading ........

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