How to choose a school for your child – Part 1

My husband and I, both teachers, often get asked for advice about which school people should send their kids to. One of our closest couple friends are expecting their first child in 2 months and the father wanted to know whether they really needed to get their son’s name down at a school as soon as he’s born. We then started discussing the types of schools available in Perth and what their options were.
What I always assume is common knowledge is really not known or understood by most parents. Since we get asked this sort of thing so often […]

Logic Puzzles and Mathematical Reasoning

There’s a big difference between those students who can “do maths” and those who can explain what they’re doing and why. At all times our goal is to raise mathematical thinkers who have the skills to back it up.
Kids often ask me why they need to learn what they’re learning and how it is relevant to the real world. As part of my reply, I explain to them that maths trains the brain in problem solving and logic in ways that no other school subject does. In the “real world” it’s important to be able to break a problem […]

Either you’re good at maths or you’re not

Yesterday I went to the dentist and met my new dental hygienist. With my mouth open for nearly 40 minutes, you wouldn’t think we got much of a conversation in. After asking how my day had been and me explaining it had been great since I’m a teacher on school holidays, we got down to talking about which school and what I teach. And then the conversation went something like this:

Hygienist: “Wow! I always think maths teachers must be super smart. I’m terrible at maths and not very smart.”
Me: Using facial expression as best I can to indicate that […]

3 Dimensional Drawing

I was teaching volume of prisms to my Year 7 students the other day, and they were amazed at my ability to draw three-dimensional shapes. They were more impressed by my drawings on my PC tablet than on the content!

Earlier this year when teaching my Year 10 Extension class topics on Measurement, they asked, half-jokingly, whether maths teachers had to attend a special class at university to learn to draw prisms and pyramids.
It occurred to me that perhaps we don’t spend enough time teaching kids to draw in three dimensions, and that’s such a pity because it’s so much […]

Great Expectations

The one thing that works really well for me in the classroom is that I hold high expectations of my students each and every lesson.
My Year 7 and 8 students come to class each day knowing what the general tone of the lesson will be and they come prepared and willing to apply their best effort. They know that I’m not interested in telling stories, gossiping, playing games, watching videos or just generally wasting time. They know that I always have a lesson I want them to engage in and something I want them to learn.
Along with this I […]

Dinner Time Maths – Ice Bucket Challenge

How many people do you know who’ve been nominated for the Ice Bucket Challenge? Have you yourself been nominated and taped yourself being soaked by a freezing cold bucket of water? Are your kids talking about it?
How about bringing the following question up during your next Dinner Time Maths chat and seeing where it leads?

How many days will it take for all the adults of Australia to be nominated for and take part in the Ice Bucket Challenge fundraiser for ALS?

16 days.
No, I’m not missing a zero and my calculator isn’t broken. Based on a mathematical model, it will […]

Does the Flipped Classroom work for maths?

Have you heard about the “flipped classroom” idea?
In a nutshell the idea goes something like this:

Technology is now at a level that we can individualise student learning more successfully and no longer need a one-size fits all style of teaching in the classroom. So far, so good.
We still can’t afford to improve staff to student ratios and thus one teacher for every 30 students will still be the model used in most schooling situations. However, if we “flipped” the way in which we utilised teachers, we could come closer to a more individualised learning program for each student.
Instead of […]

By |August 28th, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Why Mastering Maths at a Young Age is Important

It’s subject selection time in most schools and students in Year 10 are making decisions about what subjects they want to study in their senior and final years of school.
It’s a much more involved process than it was when you and I were at school. Students attend numerous information sessions and there are the usual information sessions for parents. Universities host Open Days at around this time so that students can find a possible future pathway and learn what they might like to study and the prerequisites to get there. They undergo counselling sessions with course and career advisors […]

Addictive Spatial Maths Games

At least once a year, per class, I get asked “But when are we actually going to use this?”
Sometimes I’m asked politely with genuine curiosity, and at other times the question is asked from a place of boredom and frustration. Either way, I mostly answer this question in the same way.
Maths trains our brains in ways that no other subject can. In no other subject in school do we get the same opportunity to deal with abstract and spatial concepts using only the power of our minds. Other subjects teach us how to explore and discuss ideas and to […]

The Power of Algebra through Mind Reading Tricks

A great way to get your children interested and curious about the power of algebra is through fun and freely available activities involving what first appears to be mind reading.
Let’s have a go!

Think of a number.

Add one to your answer.

Double it.

Take away 3.

Add the number you first thought of.

Add 7.

Divide by 3.

Now take away the number you first thought of.

I’m now reading your mind………

Your final result is 2!
Are you intrigued? You might be wondering how this works. Try it with your kids. Try it as a family or even with friends.
Here is a great website to try heaps more: […]