# Symbiotic Relationship between mathematics and science

Symbiotic means interaction between two ‘things’, this interaction is normally to the advantage of both.  It is a mutually favourable relationship that can happen between different groups or people.  It could be said that mathematics and science have a symbiotic relationship and that adopting a cross curricular approach to teaching both subjects in primary school create a perfect combination.  Both are connected and mutually beneficial to each other.  There are many areas where mathematics and science overlap especially as more areas of mathematical application are evolving.  Similar to some areas of science and engineering as they too develop, they become indistinguishable from some areas of mathematics.  Mathematics can reveal what scientists have discovered by helping children find relationships between a hypothesis and the data collected.  Scientists use data from their experiments to support or disprove their theories.  Without applying mathematics to science proving scientific theories would become very difficult.  For children to accurately understand a scientific principle or calculation they will need to comprehend the relationship between mathematics and science.  By helping children succeed in mathematics they will also improve their scientific skills.  Teachers need to be aware of the importance of these connections and provide opportunities to make meaningful links.  This is why teachers should respond with cross curricular teaching.  Cross curricular topics provide a good opportunity for children to think deeper and learn about the important relationship between mathematics and science.  Subjects taught effectively together can help children understand both areas in a more constructive manner and enable teachers to make connections to each topic and previous learning.  This will allow children to excel in these areas and have a profound understanding of both mathematics and science.

Brodie, M. and Byrne, E. (2012) Cross Curricular Teaching and Learning in the Secondary School… Science. Routledge.

Gilfeather, F. Griffiths, P. (1986) Mathematical sciences : a unifying and dynamic resource. Washington, D.C. : National Academy Press.

Kumon (2015) How Science and Math are Related, http://www.kumon.com/resources/how-science-and-math-are-related/  (accessed 24.02.17)

Oxford Dictionaries (2010) Oxford Dictionary of English, 3rd edition, OUP Oxford

# Role Play in Mathematics

Role play can be described as range of activities that mirror real life under a controlled environment.  It can be based around a ‘snapshot’ or reality or it could be taken from a ‘made up’ event.  Role play can allow children to manipulate time and space, restricted only by children’s imagination.  Role play has so many benefits as it  allows children to make sense of what they see and hear.  Role play can offer a way for children to be deeply immersed in their learning.  Role play can be used in many settings.  Using role play in an educational setting allows children to broaden their knowledge and understanding.  This is why role play can be a powerful tool in facilitating mathematical knowledge and understanding.

Role play not only is beneficial to pupils but to teachers as well.  As role play can help teachers to gain a more in-depth idea of a child’s knowledge of mathematical concepts.  An example of this could be creating a shop to check children’s understanding of exchanging money.  Role play can chance the feel of a classroom environment and change it into a creative learning space.  That could be because role play is seen as creative it may feel more like play to children than work.  As a result children might be more motivated to engage in activities.  Role play can teach some skills that are very difficult to learn in more traditional ways; such as self-awareness, problem solving, communication, initiative and team work. As role play is more creative; children might enjoy being active and therefore remember more, developing a greater knowledge and understanding.  Role play can make children feel more comfortable in real life situations as they already know the procedure e.g. buying items form a shop.  Role play can make learning real for children.  It allows children to explore their feelings and understanding in a non-threatening environment.

Bottle, G. (2005) Teaching Mathematics in the Primary School. Continnuum-3PL.

Briggs, M. (2014) Creative Teaching Mathematics in the Primary Classroom. Routledge.

Cummings, A. and Featherstone, S. (2009) Role Play in the Early Years. Featherstone Education.

Lee, T. and Pound, L. (2015) Teaching Mathematics Creatively. Routledge.

Matwiejczuk, K. (1997) Role Play: Theory and Practice. SAGE Publications LTD.

# Intelligence

Theories of intelligence can be linked all the way back to Plato.  He believed that intelligence was like a ball of wax: size, hardness, moistness and purity.  For 1500 years the Greeks and Romans thought that to be intelligent you have to have a tempered body this meant; four humours, blood, phlegm and black and yellow bile.  However knowledge on intelligence is very incomplete and even theorists cannot agree.

The first test of human intelligence was Simon and Binet in 1905.  The believed that intelligence is learned and can be misguided.  They created a test which would support struggling learners.  Their mental test was created to be used in school and work places.  They reflect a child’s level of performance in school tasks.  The test compared the mental achievements of high and low achieving children the same age and from this is what determined a child’s mental age.   Lewis Terman created a standardised version.  This was scored in a child’s overall level of intelligence.  One criticism was that it was invalid as he underestimated the true knowledge, skills and aptitudes of children.

Another theory of intelligence was created by Charles Spearman.  He created the ‘g’ factor.  He believed that there was one central intelligence, which influenced on cognitive abilities.  Agreeing with Spearman was Robert Sterberg.  His theory in 1985 was that he thought that there was a correlation between intelligences.  Intelligence includes qualities such as; helps us adapt to our environment.  These include cognitive abilities.  For example: to learn from experience, to reason, to remember essential information and to cope with challenges of daily living.  Howard Gardner also agreed with Spearman.  Gardner’s theory was that he believed in nine separate intelligences.  He thought that strength in one would show weakness in another.  He also thought that intelligences are linked to general mental ability e.g. Verbal, mathematical and musical.  One person who disagreed with Spearman was Lewis Leon Thurso.  His theory in 1921 was that there was seven independent intelligences.

Implications of learning from all these theories have been that we know think of the child of a ‘whole person’.  Also we now know that intelligence can exist beyond cognitive connections.  All this will benefit teachers in that the can teach at stage the in appropriate for a child’s mental age.

# Finland’s education system

I have heard wonderful things about Finland; that is that it’s one of the best education systems in the world.  But it was not until I had a lecture in it recently then I began to understand why.

Finland has promotes education as an essential factor to their system.  They are a well organised and efficient society that can rely on the infrastructure as the public and private sectors are run efficiently.  In 2013 they were ranked the least failed state in the world; this was the third year in a row. Their average literacy skills are excellent – two thirds of adults are good or excellent readers.  However eleven percent of sixteen to sixty year olds have very poor skills in literacy.  Their adult numeracy skills are the best in an OECD country – over half of adults are either good or excellent.  However thirteen percent of adults experience difficulties in basic math.

Finland was a top performer in the PISA 2000s tests.  In 2009 the number of students reaching top level of performance in science was three times the amount of OECD average.  Newsweek magazine in 2016 rated it as the best country in the world to live in.  Finland boasts gender equality and low levels of corruption and education is considered to be a top priority.  Their society is built upon education, culture and knowledge.  The aims of Finland’s education policy are: quality, efficiency, equality and internalisation.  The education system offers equal opportunities for all and all pupils receive a school meal.

As you can see Finland have had great results from their education system this is because they have infested a lot in it.  Education is very important in their society.  Something I think we could adopt in our society.

# We’re going on a bear hunt!

Mathematical language can be found everywhere.  As I have recently found out.  I was challenged to find mathematical language in a picture book.  I chose ‘We’re going in a bear hunt’ by Michael Rosen.

I found this book not only had mathematical language but it was very repetitive; which would work well in the early year’s environment.  Some of the mathematical language included:

• Big
• Long
• Over
• Under
• Through
• Deep
• Thick
• Narrow
• One
• Two
• Back
• Up
• Down

So a very common theme or concept coming from this was size and direction.  With that in mind I thought for when planning the lesson you could bring in some props.  For example while the story was being read out the children could each be holding an arrow.  The arrow would symbolise the direction of the people walking.  So for example if the people in the book go ‘up’ the children could point the arrow up towards the sky.  To check the children’s understanding the teacher could also use the arrow and point it in different directions and the children could say the answer, showing their understanding of ‘up’ or ‘down’.  I also thought this story would be a great if actions are added in.  You could even get the children involved and ask them what action would go with each word.  This would increase the engagement of each child and also check their understanding of the story.

# Review of first year placement

I have just finished my first placement.  I spent six weeks in an upper year’s class.  Overall I have enjoyed my placement.  However there were days when I found it very difficult.  It was a real learning curve.  But saying that I am glad I did it and overall I’m sure it has improved my teaching skills.  I feel I developed a good relationship with the children.  My knowledge of the curriculum has improved and I no longer feel nervous when teaching a lesson.  This links to two of my goals: confidence/staying calm and lesson planning.  I had to think on my feet and to do that I needed to stay calm.  This can be difficult sometime when children are involved.

Being in the classroom and planning lessons has made me realise how hard teachers work.  Teachers start early in the morning before the children arrive and leave late at night, using the time later in the afternoon to plan future lessons.  Seeing so many dedicated teachers inspired me to plan in advance and link lessons to the children’s needs.

Something which I felt I initially struggled with on placement was behaviour management.  To begin with, I could see that some of the children were testing me.  My school used the restorative approach.  So I used this method when talking to the children about their behaviour.  By doing this I felt as the weeks went by that the children responded to me very well.  Also to begin with when teaching lessons there was a lot of chatting on the carpet.  So to help keep the children’s attention I would; use positive praise, move children or clap to get the children’s attention.  I found by using these techniques the children paid a lot more attention on the carpet.  By the end of the placement I felt my behaviour management skills have improved, they are not perfect but I’m definitely better at it.

A strength I saw grow on placement was the development of my classroom presence.  Also as my behaviour management improved I felt the children treated me like their teacher.  They would come to me for help.  They would also tell me about their interests and hobbies.  In doing so I feel I developed a strong relationship with the children.  I was not just their teacher; I was somebody there to help them if they needed it.

I have learned so much over my six weeks on placement.  I have developed my confidence and skills and now I am more excited than ever to become a teacher and have my own class.

# Dance!

We recently had a dance workshop. Something I was quite excited about as I enjoy dancing, although I’m no expert! As a child I took some dance classes and performed in a show. But now I only dance for fun. I really enjoyed the dance workshop. We mostly looked at different types of movement and levels of dance. So this is what inspired me to create a dance lesson for primary five.

CfE outcome:
Inspired by a range of stimuli, I can express my ideas, thoughts and feelings through creative work in dance.
EXA 0-09a / EXA 1-09a / EXA 2-09a
learning intentions:
By the end of the lesson I will have in a small group come up with a dance based on an emotion using different movement and expression.

Success criteria:
To be able to come up with a short dance sequence using: music, different types of movement, rhythm and levels while focusing on the theme.

Assessment opportunities:
To assess if the children have achieved the success criteria I will watch their performance and use peer evaluation.

Learning activities:
To start off with I will include a few different warm up games for the children. This will also take away their nerves. I will then include actives that show different types movement and how to travel across the room. I will explain to the children that they need to use all these different form of movement to make up a performance that only last a couple of minutes. Then at the end of the lesson we will all watch the performances. At the end of each performance I will ask the children what the liked about each performance and something that could be improved on.

I would like to keep dancing fun and enjoyable for the children. Dancing can improve your confidence and improve your knowledge about dance and your own body. I look back at dance with a positive attitude and that is something I want to impart onto the children.

# Smart Target

Today I’ve come up with a SMART target that relates to science. A SMART target is a good way to accomplish targets and to get the done in time.
SMART stands for:
Specific
Measurable
Achievable
Relevant
Timed
In our science lecture we were talking about famous scientists. We got asked if we have a favourite scientist and if not we should have one. That made me think that I children should have a broad understanding of famous scientist and maybe have a favourite one. So that is what my SMART target will be based upon.
Specific – we will research famous scientists in class. By the end of the lesion the children should choose their favourite and explain why.
Measurable – I will develop a lesson plan
Achievable – I will beforehand research into famous scientists. This will help my knowledge and understanding and it will also help me to choose the resources for the children to use.
Relevant – I will link this to the Curriculum for excellence: experience and outcomes.
Timed – By the end of semester one I will have planned my lesson

# Professionalism vs. the online world

Discuss what challenges/opportunities you may be faced with when marrying the personal vs the professional presence on social media.

I big challenge when marrying the personal and the professional presence on social media is privacy. We as teachers must be mindful of the professional boundaries and remember not to over step the mark. With social media it is easy to share information and opinions but as teachers we should never attempt to establish inappropriate relationship’s with children. However the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) do realize that teachers do have private lives and we should not put them on hold. But we should maybe show more discretion. For example having separate profiles, one which is private and the other for teaching. We should not misuse any electronic communication and maintain a formal and professional tone. Technology can enhance the curriculum. We want to use this to our advantage.

How are the challenges/opportunities afforded by social media framed? How will you frame things – positive or deficit viewpoint?

Generally social media can sometimes be seen as a bad thing in education. But personally I think it can enhance children’s learning.   I think the public are wary of it, which they have every right to be as we sometimes see horrible stories in the media. But if we use it correctly it can help teachers and children to work. We know live in a world surrounded my social media. The children that we will be teaching have grown up with it. It could be a good way of understanding children, who they are as people and how they learn.