Sunday, July 18, 2010

Creative Maths Classrooms

This is a slightly different kind of post. Prompted by this week's #ukedchat on Twitter, I wanted to ask if anyone would like to post their ideas specifically about Creative Maths Clasrooms here or on Twitter (maybe you could send them to me @Janshs and use the hashtag #creativemathsclassrooms ?). I don't intend to collate them or anything, well not at the moment anyway. I just thought it might be a fun thing for Maths colleagues to share.

Maybe you could also post good websites/resources/people to follow on Twitter?

So here goes with a few things that I like to do whenever I can.

Learning Journals
I try to set aside time in lessons to get students to note down the things they've learned at how they are going to remember them. I give them a lot of guidance to start with, less as we go on, and also refer to it frequently. I have noticed that those who really get into it tend to exceed their target grades but of course this may just be because they are 'good' students in other ways as well!

Neuroscience in the classroom
Based on a Teachers' TV idea I saw ages ago. Present information but emphasise the students should not write anything down at this stage. Have a break doing something weird like balancing ping pong balls on their noses, go outside and see how many times you can pat a tennis ball back and forth in a minutes, build a tower of playing cards. Then present info again and get them to do learning journal or similar. Another break then a short test. Great for revising before exams.

Works for almost every subject I should think. Get students to tell a partner everything the lnow about, say, angle facts. Then they join with another pair and so on.

Maths hat
Write a number or keyword on the board. A volunteer does not see it but asks class yes no questions u ntil they get it.

A volunteer (it can be you) answers any questions on a given topic. They can 'pass'.

Using video
In pairs, one interviews the other on a certain topic. Play back to class. Great for revsions. Or try acting out - this went really well with my Year 11s on vectors, and Pythagoras - which had an accompanying rap - it's in this blog somewhere - do a search if you feel like it.

Use Voki or BrainPop from the internet.

Make lots of use of mind maps at start of a topic to see what they already know, add to it during the topic.

Story boards
A great homewor as well: students make comic strips about a certain topic.

Make use of the display in your room as a teaching aid.

Wordsearches with clues rather than just 'find the word' - great for lesson startrs, topic starters, revsion, homework

OK that's just what I've come up with for starters...

How about you?


  1. I'm a big fan of deliberately not giving enough information. Ask a question (particularly for Functional maths questions), and then wait for the class to decide what they need to know. I'll then either tell them, or say that's irrelevant.

  2. Wow, thanks Jan. That was exactly the kind of enthusiastic response from a maths professional that I hoped to read...
    I know there are loads of creative specialists out there but some others just need to be given some pointers and what better way than someone from their own subject? With your permission I would like to share this with the maths CoP created in Doncaster? This group is led by an AST and supported by my CLC. We have held a TeachMeet event (Mathsmeet) and regular two monthly sharing sessions - around 30 teachers involved now. I'm sure there is a lot for them to use or add to your article!

  3. Hi Jan
    I am 'stealing' this idea for the #mathchat Wiki too! We are trying to build a central resource/reference for all sorts of mathematics activities with a focus on practical application in the classroom across the curriculum (including cross-curriculum too). So feel free to use the #mathchat hashtag to collect/post ideas and links, it gives you a few more characters to play with in Twitter too!

    Follow @mathchat for updates to the Wiki.
    Mathchat Wiki:
    Mathchat archive:

  4. I like the learning journals, thats a great idea!