We recognise that employers are asking for capable mathematicians who can apply their knowledge to authentic situations. We want teachers to support good teaching and learning whenever possible. The following lesson plan was submitted by a Head of Mathematics, following success with his KS4 students. It may be of interest to teachers who are looking for resources that support a more resilient approach to mathematical problem solving. The lesson plans are aimed at helping students to become more independent, selective and critical when approaching unfamiliar material, and have developed a structure to support that development
The following activities are the full set for “Statistics on the field” – a sports based investigation (AQA – S1, S2, S3, S4).
The full set of activities are available for free on https://secure.bettermaths.org.uk/latest/lesson-plans/
Each set of lessons and resources follows a similar format as detailed below.
Please note the following activities will take a number of lessons to complete.
1. Starter / introduction.
Develops language & Skills In the first part of each set of lesson plans we focus on language and skills,
The introductory and starter activities tend to be small group work, pulling out key concepts, and particularly exploring key language and encouraging students to discuss these ideas.
2. Problem based activity.
Following the introduction there is a more accessible problem to solve to develop these ideas through open-ended problem solving activities. These problems are fairly substantial and could take a full lesson to explore fully.
3. Extension / project work.
The final part is an example of a student lead project or extension activity that builds on the previous elements and represents an authentic real life example. It is aimed at those students who can work well independently, or can be used as an extension activity, or as a class / small group activity with those students who need more support. We have tried to offer variants on the main theme to allow particular interests to be accommodated.
It will involve students making hypothesis and then testing them.
It may involve additional research from the students to substantiate their ideas.
But above all we hope that students will start to see that there is not necessarily a ‘right answer’. That the process, and the justification of the mathematical choices you make are important too.
We have been deliberately open ended in this part of the lessons. We would hope that the source material and the ideas would be adapted to the interests and learning approaches of your pupils. We have continued the theme here of focus on pupils selecting and justifying an approach. These extension / project ideas can be approached in a number of different ways, and pupils could gain a great deal from the interactions with their peers, the collaborative effort and the production of an agreed final outcome.
What is the difference between causation and correlation?
The starter aims to help all students be clear on what these terms mean. They should be confident to ask the question.. “yes, but does it cause it?”
What do you need to make a fair comparison?
Using the London 2012 medal table, and other data, can you work out which of the competing countries is the most athletic? Developing on the starter activity pupils should be able to decide what data they need to make valid comparisons.
The extension also adds the complexity of using historical data to predict future events. For this activity, asking the students to decide who should be the opening batter in the next T20 cricket match would be sufficiently demanding.
We would encourage you or your pupils to submit their solutions to us with their justifications or a short video that we can host on the bettermaths.org.uk website.