Developing Mathematical Inquiry in a Learning Community
The staff at Pt. England has begun having PD with Dr. Bobbie Hunter, Massey University. We are looking into creating a learning community for our children that involves teaching using a mathematical inquiry model. Here are my notes/thoughts from our first session as a staff.
What DOES work for diverse children will also work for ALL children. We need to be developing children who are doing the thinking...not just listening.
There is a misconception among many NZ primary teachers that Pasifika children come to school ‘not knowing anything’ when it comes to maths. However, the truth is that they know a lot of applied maths (setting the tables, laying out the mats, cutting sandwiches into fractions, etc).
It is important to provide current cultural context for our students. They may be Samoan but they are living here! What are the things they experience on a daily basis in their immediate environment.
NZ has the widest disparities between the cans and the cannots when it comes to kids and maths.
It is important to remember that Culture and Mathematics are Intertwined
Every culture uses maths in context to items that are specific to them. Students need to be encouraged to share intellectual problems that relate to them. When writing problems always ask, “Will my students be able to relate to this question?”
In order to bring the cultural aspect into a classroom you MUST look at their values.
Instead of saying “work as a team” rephrase to “work as a family”
Service concept - idea of individually helping others before helping yourself
DMIC-Developing Mathematical Inquiry Communities
- Connected, rich mathematical thinking and reasoning
- Proficient use of mathematical practices
- Inquiry learning within mathematics
- Social grouping and group worthy problematic activity
- High expectations and inclusion
- Culturally responsive teaching and learning
- Co-constructing teaching and learning
Talk Moves are important for promoting student interactions when discussing student explanations. (eg. why? how?)
If every teacher made their math problems a level or two high than where the students are achieving, our maths scores will increase dramatically.
-It is important to let the kids know that the problem is hard...it is ok to struggle and work on it over a few days.
As a teacher, it is important to add on the “because” when reacting to student involvement (eg. “That was a really good question/explanation because…”)
- Making a claim/conjecture
- Taking time to hear and acknowledge the conjecture (jot it down) and come back to it at the important time
- Developing a mathematical explanation
- Justifying thinking
- Constructing arguments
- Generalising a mathematical idea
- Representing mathematical thinking using pictures, material, and numbers
- Using mathematical language
Launch (can take ½ a lesson on day one but will decrease the following days)
- Put the problem in front of the children...keep it in context, available and have the students read it.
- What is happening in the story? What is going on? (add-on, repeat, teacher revoice) Until the ALL understand the story.
- What is it asking us to do? DO NOT focus on operations. Focus on concepts, not how to solve it.
5 Minutes to work on the problem alone (if students seem to want the time). Then, move to working in a group to find a collective way to solve and explain their process on a large sheet of paper.
We are NOT thinking number knowledge and strategy we are focusing on the BIG idea. We use number knowledge in order to work within a strand, which should be our focus.
Teachers need to always use the problem context to make the explanation experientially real.
Groups should only have one piece of paper and one writing tool. They should be in groups of 4.
When students are given multiple opportunities to discuss, inquire, mathematically argue and sense make as they engage in mathematics.
Active listening and questioning for sentence making
- Discuss and role-play active listening
- Use inclusive language “show us’, “we want to know”, “tell us”
- Structure the students explaining and sense making section by section
- Emphasise need for individual responsibility for each other.
Encourage students to listen to (and look at) the student who is presenting.
Only work with about 12-16 students (in groups of 4) at a time and then rotate. This will allow for students who don’t quite get it to join in with the other group the next day.