Mainly maths

This blog deals with broad issues associated with education and educational reform. However, I also have a personal interest in mathematics teaching and a number of my posts contain thoughts about ways to improve mathematics teaching - and, perhaps more importantly, often links to relevant resources.

However, with each new post they get buried deeper into the archives.  To help prevent this I have created this page which will provide the links to mathematically based posts in this blog.

Mathematics from the masses # 1 #2 #3
Designed to be an ongoing update of issues related to mathematics gleaned from the web.   Provides links to websites, blogs and newsfeeds on current mathematical issues - mostly from an educational perspective but also just for fun. Although designed to be a collection of “recent” postings from the web much of the content will not date rapidly - if at all.

How to be a great maths teacher
If only it was that easy - read a blog and classroom practice would transform. Nonetheless educational improvement needs to start somewhere - so why not with the recommendations for “best practice” mathematics education from the experts?
How to be a great maths teacher – what the research says
How to be a great maths teacher #2 – what the research continues to say.

Neither post is as dry as might be expected.
Vedic maths is a LOT of fun. It also has some potential in education - if used wisely. But then...sometimes having fun with maths is enough...
Ancient Maths = Modern Learning 
We tend to think that only "modern" cultures could do maths. Not so. Some video to introduce some "ancient" maths to young minds

Almost everyone enjoys the "Tower of Hanoi" problem. But the story behind the puzzle is as interesting as the puzzle itself.

A collection of three earlier postings all with the theme of mathematics that makes you wonder about how and why things are as they are.  Should go well with a cup of coffee and a few minutes to sit and wonder…
Also has the sub-theme that we should share this sense of wonder with our students.

Marcus du Sautoy is one of the most respected and famous mathematicians on the planet. Yet, as this clip shows, even he can make simple errors using mental arithmetic when under stress.  If this is true for someone like du Sautoy how much more so is it for young students?

Using formal algorithms too early
There is convincing research that schools introduce formal algorithms to students before they are ready - with the perhaps surprising result of reducing performance and understanding. Some links to the research are provided - and some approaches that teach the necessary skills and understandings without formal algorithms.

A collection of embedded youtube  and vimeo videos that could be used to awaken interest in some mathematical activities.  A particularly funny “Ma and Pa Kettle” clip leads the way.

Similar to the above - a bit of my own experiences teaching mathematics then embedded video of Dan Meyer’s TED talk followed by some video to inspire mathematical activity.  Some really good viewing.

Based upon a piece by Alistair McIntosh.  It provides a list of seven characteristics of effective maths teaching - and McIntosh represented them all with terms starting with “C”.  Contains embedded video representing these ideas.

A short introduction to Dan Meyer’s TED talk and a link to his blog site.

An introduction to the book of the same name.  Lockhart is a maths teacher with great concerns about the manner in which mathematics is taught.  He makes his point well early when he imagines what art or music teaching would be like if we followed the same approach used in mathematics classrooms.
Provides a link to a pdf of the first draft of the book.

Most know and acknowledge that many of the elements of Easter celebrations are based upon earlier practices - we just don’t think about it very often.  The same with the Kahn academy’s approach to teaching, which is essentially an electronic version of “chalk and talk”.