More Residential

After coffee and some very nice danish pastries, we moved to our next session all about pattern. A lot of people had commented on how good this session had been so we were looking forward to it. The session was run by Judy Sayers of Northampton university and Dr Paul Andrews from Cambridge university.

The session aimed to consider the nature of pattern and its existence in the maths curriculum (and beyond) and to think about how we might support children in understanding pattern in maths.

We began by considering what pattern was and were going to compare definitions at the end of the session, Sadly we ran out of time so this didn’t happen.

We then looked at the problem where you have to move 2 sets of frogs from one side of the river to another by jumping or sliding. This was acted out. I was one of the frogs which meant that I relaxed a bit and just did as I was told! We considered the patterns of jumps and slides and what the possibilities were and how you could use pattern to predict them.

We then investigated a range of patterns. In each case we moved from a concrete example to a more abstract rule. We looked at patterns such as triangular numbers and seeing squares inside grids. John was very keen to make the point that it is not enough for children just to see a pattern but that they need to explore the maths behind that pattern as well.

This was an enjoyable session but I didn’t find it as thought provoking as the previous session. I think I probably generally am happy if my children can spot a pattern and explain it and don’t go into higher order maths to prove ideas.

For our directed task for this area, we have to read Pattern Power which is on the nrich site and over a period of a week record all the opportunities I provide to draw the children’s attention to pattern.

After lunch we had our 3rd session on proportionality. By now we had already had 4 hours of maths and our brains were beginning to flag a bit. This wasn’t helped by the fact that proportionality and its related areas of fractions, decimals and percentages are some of the hardest ideas to grasp. Some early years teachers found this session challenging as a lot of it was out of their direct teaching experience.

We looked at the part played by proportionality in the maths framework to see how big an area it is for children. As well as the normal FDPRP, we decided that it also plays a big part in measures where children need to see relationships between measures and in money. I’m sure that there other examples out there.

Multiplication and proportionality are closely linked. Most aspects of proportionality have a multiplication aspect to them.

My head was spinning by this point and although I could do the actual maths, I wasn’t really taking on board the big ideas any more. This is an area that I need to read up on and think about in much greater detail.

For our directed task, we have to do some reading and also to devise a classroom activity involving some element of proportional reasoning.

There should have been a break next but Debbie, the course leader, gave us an extra short session on how to complete our Personal Learning Log which will be  a big part of our assessed work. This did clarify things for us although was quite scary in terms of the volume of work that is expected. She did keep making the point that we should be studying to masters level and therefore need to work at the required depth to achieve that.

5 o clock on Saturday, dinner in an hour and then one more session to go!


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