Friday, February 17, 2012

Maths Dictionaries

Luckily I love maths and have been an avid collector of maths dictionaries over the thirty years I have been teaching.  I have every edition of the Illustrated Maths Dictionary by Judith De  Klerk, and both of my own children found their copy of this useful right through until the end of their college years at Hobart College. The latest edition comes with a Cd. So I have installed all my dictionaries plus some recently-purchased ones into the classroom so we have a sound resource base that I wouldn't have otherwise had. I already know this particular  student cohort will look after them.  Enjoyment of mathematics for me began  only when I started having to teach it, and because I struggled with it so much as a youngster and only made it through due to dear old Dad's constant explanations, patience, kindness and assistance, that I feel I understand why so many students feel daunted by the topic and even tell me that they don;t like maths like today. I felt very sad and hope to turn things around for them.

Today, in class, my  students explored the terms ratio using three different dictionaries. These dictionaries are an invaluable resource withing the classroom and aid students in independence and increase their confidence with mathematics. Today the students also learnt to play the game Guess the Number which is a great warm up activity to any maths lesson. I have a tin  full of cards made from recycled Christmas and birthday cards and on the back there is a number, a maths term, a shape or a measurement quality which the students have to guess. The student running the game is only allowed to say yes or no. It is a fabulous game for developing literacy in mathematics, recording skills, and questioning strategies. Past students have always really loved this game and in self assessments have written that it is one part of maths they enjoy. The student running the game is allowed a calculator to help them with the more trickier questions, and I am always there for back up to give little clues.  I usually prepare three cards for each lesson concentrating on the major strands of the current national curriculum which are:  Number & Algebra, Measurement & Geometry and Statistic & Probability. If the card has a number on it students might ask questions such as:
Is it an odd number?
Is it a prime number?
Is it a cardinal number?
Does it have three digits or less?
Is it an ordinal number?
Is it a square number?
Do the digits added together make less then 10?
Is it less than 100?
Is it greater than 10?
Is five one of its factors?
How many factors does this number have?
In Roman numerals is it represented by an x
Is it a fraction?
Is it a mixed fraction?
As the terms  progress so does the sophistication of  the students' questioning strategies and their  knowledge and understanding of mathematical terminology.

Another book I recently purchased which is well-aligned with the national curriculum and I think all teachers should have a copy of,  is reviewed in my classroom book blog:

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