Blog Archives

What mathematicians do

July 31, 2017
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What mathematicians do

What do mathematicians do? We ask children what mathematicians do, and the answers include, “they do mathematics”, “they get things right”, and “they answer questions.” Hmm. Recently in guest workshops I asked about 120 pre-service primary/elementary teachers how many see … Continue reading →

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Dragon Trainer rich mathematical task

July 20, 2017
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Dragon Trainer rich mathematical task

I love rich mathematical tasks. Here is one for all levels of schooling. What do you think? Background to rich tasks A rich task is an open-ended task that students can engage with at multiple levels. I use the following … Continue reading →

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Mathematics and statistics lessons about elections

July 13, 2017
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Mathematics and statistics lessons about elections

Study elections in mathematics because it is important Too often mathematics is seen as pure and apolitical.  Maths teachers may keep away from concepts that seem messy and without right and wrong answers. However, teachers of mathematics and statistics have … Continue reading →

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Maths trauma can be healed

June 12, 2017
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Maths trauma can be healed

Maths trauma and earthquakes Trauma is a deeply distressing or disturbing experience. Many people in my home town of Christchurch still suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of our earthquakes five or so years ago. I … Continue reading →

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Graphs – beauty and truth

April 23, 2017
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Graphs – beauty and truth

Graphs – beauty and truth (with apologies to Keats) A good graph is elegant I really like graphs. I like the way graphs turn numbers into pictures. A good graph is elegant. It uses a few well-placed lines to communicate … Continue reading →

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Educating the heart with maths and statistics

February 14, 2017
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Educating the heart with maths and statistics

What has love got to do with maths? This morning at the Twitter chat for teachers, (#bfc630nz) the discussion question was, How and what will you teach your students about life this year? As I lurked I was impressed at … Continue reading →

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STEM, STEM-Ed, STEAM and Statistics

January 22, 2017
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STEM, STEM-Ed, STEAM and Statistics

STEM is a popular acronym in educational circles and is used to refer to careers and educational tasks. Though most know that the four letters stand for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, it can be difficult to pin down what exactly … Continue reading →

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The Class-size debate – it matters to teachers

January 16, 2017
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The Class-size debate – it matters to teachers

Class size matters to teachers Class size is a perennial question in education. What is the ideal size for a school class? Teachers would like smaller classes, to improve learning. There is evidence of a small positive effect size due … Continue reading →

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Why people hate statistics

January 10, 2017
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Why people hate statistics

This summer/Christmas break it has been my pleasure to help a young woman who is struggling with statistics, and it has prompted me to ask people who teach postgraduate statistical methods – WTF are you doing? Louise (name changed) is a … Continue reading →

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Has the Numeracy Project failed?

December 11, 2016
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Has the Numeracy Project failed?

The Numeracy Development Project has influenced the teaching of mathematics in New Zealand. It has changed the language people use to talk about mathematical understanding, introducing the terms “multiplicative thinking”, “part-whole” and “proportional reasoning” to the teacher toolkit. It has … Continue reading →

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