Mathematical Sodas

Well, don’t you just hate it when things don’t go to plan! Sunday morning is always dedicated to writing Wilson Waffling sat in Starbucks drinking a Venti soya wet latte and maybe nibbling on some sort of fattening cake – well typing is tiring and must class as some sort of exercise ! Well drink and swirl ordered I sat down and booted up my MacBook and shock horror ! This came up up on the screen!

Should have been more prepared!

Should have been more prepared!

Thirty nine minutes to wait. I should have really realised this yesterday but I didn’t so rather than sat doing nothing reading a book, I whipped out my iPad, downloaded the WordPress app and managed to sign into my blog! So this week’s waffle is brought to you, not only from Starbucks, but also from an iPad and the challenge is to write it before the MacBook Pro completes it’s update! Challenge on!!

This week’s waffle is all about all about mathematical SODAs. I’ve waffled about the ideas behind SODAs and thinking skills before, but thought I would concentrate on approaching it from a mathematical point of view. Essentially activities for SODAs should be very open ended and although they should be able to be completed within a certain period of time, they should be able to easily be extended if needed. With these two points in mind, here are a some suggestions which you could use effectively either as SODAs or mental and oral starters.

I have been nominated for one of the UK Top 100 Educational Blogs.

  • Shape challenge – I first saw this while appraising a lesson in a local school. The learning behind the activity is related to shape and their properties and focuses on children discussing and possibly recording their ideas. Images of shapes are taken and produced as individual images or as part of a spider diagram. The shapes could be just images from the internet but the activity works more effectively if the images are familiar to the children. Taking photographs of objects in and around the school would be a very good starting point. The task simply focuses on the instruction -“what can you tell me about the image?” This opened end question will allow the children to engage with the image at their own level of understanding. It also allows the children to interact and discuss 2D representations of 3D shapes. Of course the whole activity could be focused on actual 3D shapes rather than just a flat image.

  • What can you tell me about 12?

    What can you tell me about 12?

  • Number webs – This is one of the activities that the students and I were reflecting on in this week’s first year module in mathematics. The idea of this activity is to present the children with a single number within the centre of a piece of paper. The children then create a web of all the calculations or properties of that number. An example of this could be the number 12 in the centre and properties of calculations such as 3×4 or “an even number” or “one ten and two units”.(back on the macbook now – challenge failed!) This can be extended to be focused on specific percentages or fractions in the middle of the web as well as shapes, following on from the previous activity.

  • Tell me the story of this graph.

    Tell me the story of this graph.

  • Draw a graph – Within data handling lessons – will we still call these lessons data handling or the new 2014 NC term of statistics? – we often collect, present and interpret data. Providing the children with a graph with data on but no labels for either the axes or a title, can allow the children to create their own story about the graph using the data provided. This can really get them thinking and creating new ideas and situations. Once they have decided on the graph they can then tell each other the story of the graph or even annotate if recording is required. The children can come up with some very interesting and accurate interpretations of the graph – as do the students within their session on data handling.

  • Getting the children engaged in activities outside the actual mathematics lesson will enable them to begin to understand how mathematics is integral not only to other curriculum areas but in ‘real life’ as well. If you have any other activities or ideas then please feel free to share them by adding them in the comments below or send me them to be via twitter(@iwilsonysj), Facebook, google+ or email.

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    Just before I leave you, can I just mention (yet again I hear some of you say) that I have been nominated for one of the UK Top 100 Educational Blogs. This is hosted by UKEDChat and voting closes on Wednesday 9th April. If you enjoy reading Wilson Waffling, I would appreciate it if you could drop them an email providing the name of my blog (Wilson Waffling) to vote@ukedchat.com. Further information can be found here. Thank you if you already have or are going to vote for my blog- I appreciate your continuing support.

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