Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Ways to Promote Inquiry Maths

So I don't forget about the things that "worked" during my addition and subtraction unit, I thought I would add them to my blog.

1. Prove It: Not my idea, but students loved it. It made them think and generate discussion. It also led to questions about the importance and meaning of = (equals).

2. Group Reflections: Posing a problem then asking students to have a go by themselves then come together to share their thinking. This gives students an opportunity to solve it themselves and then time to reflect and share their thinking with others.

3. I solved it like this: This idea came to me as I was struggling to get students to change their mindset that algorithms are the only way. This generated lots of debate and really challenged those students who had only been taught how to solve problems using algorithms. It was also a great formative assessment tool. It really opened my mind to how much using this method hinders students ability to think.

4. Test it: Rather than teaching students how to 'round numbers' or 'make tens' I decided to get them to test different methods to see what they found out. Some students rounded both numbers, some rounded the larger number and some rounded the smaller. This made for great discussion and ultimately great learning.

5. Pose Your Own: Once again I was going to pose the question to this real life situation of a game my students were playing on OSMO before school. Just before I went to start talking I stopped myself and said, "Hey! Why don't you ask the questions?"This really challenged students to begin with. After some modeling of ideas the questions started to flow...
"How many more points did red score than blue?"
"How many more points do blue need to get to 100?"
"If blue team had two players, how many points could each player have scored?"
This again opened me up to the idea that posing problems is a skill that mathematicians need.

6. Strategy Windows: Students really enjoyed this template. It promoted them to use different strategies, but also to be aware of the strategies they were using. Every time we did this the students keep asking for more!


7. Strategy Reflection Wall: This was a great resource for students to refer back to during the unit. They would share strategies they used and reflect on them. It was a wonderful visual tool that allowed students to learn that there are a variety of ways to solve problems (a conceptual understanding in the PYP Number Scope and Sequence document).

Inquiry maths is about given students freedom to express themselves mathematically. I feel that each of these activities achieved that!

I will add to this as I go. Please feel free to provided any other ways you promoted inquiry maths in your classroom. Also please feel free to comment.

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