Last week as Trio worked with teachers in Newcastle we were asked why we don’t post very much about maths. Maths is easy, in a way, because it is all about the content. However the challenge with the new NSW maths syllabus is to make working mathematically central to the teaching of maths. Problem solving and open-ended questions need to be core business and not peripheral in our classrooms.
As we worked with this group of teachers exploring the maths syllabus we asked them to form groups of three and use a piece of string to make a triangular prism. The groups worked enthusiastically with a lot of talk to make their 3D shape. Each group solved the problem but all worked it out differently. The reflection after the task showed everyone a variety of ways the problem could be solved. A final question, ‘could three people make a cube?’ sent everyone back to their group to explore that possibility. The answer: ‘yes!’
This task was characterised by excellent maths practices, talk, trialling a variety of possible solutions, reflecting on the solution and enthusiasm from the participants. Hopefully the same can be said for maths lessons in our classrooms.