In my experience as a practitioner, and from my MA1 placement, I tried to teach as many maths lessons as I could in order to increase my confidence. I had no previous experience teaching maths and it was a daunting experience to say the least. However, after taking numerous lessons with different, my confidence grew and grew and here is what I have done in order to incorporate active learning into my maths lessons.
I tried to incorporate active learning into my lessons as much as I could. However, this was a difficult task with certain groups because some mathematical concepts were very much board and textbook work, and there is nothing that could be done about that. However, this all changed when I was teaching position, I found this to be extremely engaging.
The Birth of Frank the Frog
Whilst introducing the concept of position to the group, it was apparent that they were struggling with the positional language. The children found it hard to retain the positional language needed in order to understand the concept of position in maths. After discussions with my class teacher, I decided to re-jig my approach to the lesson and, subsequently, I created a fictional character called Frank the frog (he was a plush, frog toy). Frank would write the children letters to engage them in the topic. I also created my own games, one of which was ‘where’s Frank the frog’, and the children had to use positional language to find Frank the Frog. As a result, the children were able to gain a knowledge of positional language and were able to use it effectively to find Frank. I think this was because there was so much stimuli within the lessons and this kept there attention and made the lesson fun and memorable.
I felt that it is extremely relevant and fundamental to incorporate active learning within mathematics in order for the children to understand and enjoy the intended learning and so they do not become disengaged. For me, it was a revelation because the children responded so well and I really feel that ‘Frank the frog’ made a significant difference to their education.
Active learning in maths can occur in so many different ways, shapes or forms. This was only one way of incorporating active learning into mathematics. However, it can also be achieved through art and design in the form of tessellation, symmetry and proportion in order to create artistic masterpieces. In particular, the word of M.C. Escher highlights the beauty and creative nature of maths within art and design and it can be seen through the video below. This could be done effectively with children and the could have fun whilst learning at the same time.