Differentiation in maths.

How to adapt an activity to suit all the pupils in the classroom.

Creating a lesson based upon data collecting can be tricky especially when the learners in your class will all be at different stages of development. It is very important to differentiate the lesson so that the content of the lesson will be suitable for alk the learners in the classroom.

An example of an activity could be collecting data based on favourite flavours of crisps. The first part of the task that could be differentiated could be the set up of writting down the data, for pupils who are working at a lower stage a pre made grid with the flavours written down already would be good. For children who are working at a higher stage could create their own graph, also how the data is recorded could also differentiated, from dots at a lower stage and tally marks at a higher stage.

Once the data has been gathered the task of writting up the results in a graph can be differentiated, for lower stages a pre drawn graph with an X and Y axis already written on the graph. For pupils working at a higher stage it would be appropriate for those pupils draw their own graph from the very begining.  Different graphs can also be used depending on the stages of develoment for example a bar graph for children working at a lower stage and a pie chart for children working at a higher stage. Finally for children working at a higher stage once the data has been gathered and graphed it would be a great progression for those pupils to calculate precentages from the data they collected.

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Mathematics and science go hand in hand.

image Since I was young aspiring primary teacher I was surronded by science. My dad is a geologist and my mum is a nurse. Both of my parent had a true interest in either how the human body worked or why britain is shaped the way it is. So as a little girl i was always welcomed to ask questions and be inquisitive about the earth. It was only as I became older and shared my dads love of geology that i truely understood the realationship between mathmatics and science.

A patroleum geologist cannot predict where oil will be in settiling in a sedimentary rock hundreds of meter bellow sea level without doing many precise calculations. A pharmaceutical company cannot release a a new drug without vigorous messuring and data collection.

This alone shows the realationship between mathematics and science, in a primary school setting when teaching science it is incredibly important for th pupils to have an understanding of the mathematics involved within the science lesson.

An example of this would be during a lesson regarding the human body a measurement of height and hand span can be done. For this to be carried out accurately the pupils must be able to understand lenght and width, and be able to correctly measure using meassuring equipment.

I have found it very interesting whilst reflecting on a science or maths lecture and realising how relevent each subject is towards each other. As i have a true love of science it has helped my realationship with mathematics as I enjoy applying it to a subject I enjoy.



Understanding the incomprehensible?

How do teachers create a lesson based upon the solar system and the planets positions when as an adult I cannot fully understand the true distance between planet earth and venus?

Its simple really!

As dicsussed in a previous post about my fear of mathematics I mentioned that it was very relevent to engage the learners from the beginning of a lesson, by making it relevent and relatable to their lives. So in regards to the solar system the concept of distance between planets can easily scaled down to a more digestable size.




Here we have a football pitch which would be a create a great interactive lesson outdoors where every child could be alocated a planet. The pupils could all messure the distance between eachother to see the scaled version of distances between planets. This lesson would not only be releven but it would also be cross curricular and create links between mathematics and science. This lesson could also be recreated using a local map where the children can see exactly how far each planet is from each other in a relevent enviviroment. The options are endless just like the universe!

The fear of mathmatics!

So here I am looking at my weeks timetable and I feel fear rushing through my vains. I have a mathmatics lecture on monday and I can already feel my heart beating and my palms getting sweaty.



Monday evening  came around and I have completely changed my midset of mathmatics, the enjoyment I felt during that maths lecture was ground breaking. Why did I enjoy it? What was so different about that maths lesson compared to 13 years of school education where the clocks hands seemed to travel backwards?


So here I am reflecting on a very enjoyable two hour lecture on mathmatics and trying to understand why I enjoyed it so much.

I realise that I was fully engaged in the whole two hour lecture where we were talking about mathmatics and it’s relevance in our daily lives. That got me thinking as I was never engaged in any maths lessons in school instead I lived in fear that I was going to be asked a question next and have to stand up in front of my peers and very weakly whimper a complete guessed answer to a question I did not understand.

So today I find that my engagement in the lesson was due to the lecturer making mathematics completely relevent to my everyday life. First the basics were discussed; how big or small an object can be, place value and them importance of zero, time and money, etc.

By making mathematics relevent to my everyday life I was able to follow the lecturer closely throughout the powerpoint and complete the journey trhough each transition without becoming lost. This has shown me that in every stage of teaching mathematics it is important to be mindful that there will be learners who will struggle more than others in particular areas. To combat this when teaching I will create a lesson that will show the individual learners why the content of the lessons are important and can be utilised during their day to day lives. By doing this from the very begining I hope that learners will not become anxious in maths lessons as they will be following the content of the lessons and be fully interactive during them. Also by creating a good report with pupils and a friendly classroom enviroment where everyone’s  voice is heard I hope the outcome will be enthusiastic pupils with the hunger to improve their mathematic skills in an enjoyable way.



My Educational Philosophy

I am Fionnaigh Ewing at the University of Dundee studying for an MA (Hons) in Education. I arrived here by being motivated and driven by my inspirational teachers. They pushed me to be the best that I could and gave me the self-belief to achieve what I had always wanted.

After finishing my highers in my fifth year I applied to the University to study MA (Hons) in Education. It had always been my dream job and I had set myself goals to slowly achieve it. My life became a balancing act between studying for further academic achievements and having a healthy lifestyle through athletics.

Towards the end of my sixth year at secondary school I had an interview for the university. After commitment and focus on my goals I was successful and was offered a conditional place. In May 2014 I completed my final exams and achieved the conditions the university had set for me, therefore I secured my place to study at the University Of Dundee.

My work experience in sixth year was a placement in a local primary school. I thoroughly enjoyed it as I was able to experience all year groups from nursery to primary seven, this gave me experience and insight to the reality of teaching as a profession. I watched very passionate teachers inspire young children to achieve within their learning. This prepared me to be an undergraduate as it motivated me to work hard and achieve.

My goal now is to be successful throughout university and complete my degree. This will allow me to practice my dream job as a primary teacher, and allow me to inspire young children to achieve the best that they can. It will allow me to make a difference to education and impact its future in a positive way.

Being an undergraduate student is challenging in many ways. I have always had to work hard to achieve anything academically as this has never come naturally to me. I was diagnosed with dyslexia during my fourth year at Arbroath High School, luckily before my standard grade exams. I always felt that I was less able than my peers as I struggled with literacy and numeracy. After my diagnoses I became much  more confident and realised I was just as able but I would have to work harder to achieve. This has helped me during my journey of being an undergraduate as I am in the habit of keeping on top of tutor directed tasks, reading and exam study.

Scottish Culture on education

Educational studies Historical and comparative perspectives on education

What do you believe are the most important elements to Scottish culture?

Culture is a very difficult word to describe for me it means your identity that is shared with people from the same community, it defines what is acceptable and not acceptable. History is a major factor in creating a culture, it is past events that create outcomes that evolve over time to create a new norm. Stereotypes are created as a product of a culture. In Scotland people from out with the country portray Scottish people as having ginger, eating haggis for tea and watching out their bedroom windows for mystical creatures such as the Loch Ness monster. Scottish country dancing is a very important Scottish culture for me as I was taught at primary school and secondary school during a physical education class. It also has a place in social society as at a Scottish wedding there will normally be a ceilidh and country dancing. Very recently in Scotland there has been a great focus on the referendum causing a lot of controversy and discussion. This referendum showed how patriotic Scottish people were proving this to be an important aspect in our culture.

What impacts does this have on children and their education?

Scottish country dancing impacts on children’s education as they will have to participate in Scottish country dancing at school during physical education classes. Also schools will provide ceilidhs for children around Christmas time which is important as it helps children to socialise. The referendum was important for pupils as the government controls education and state schools with funding and the curriculum amongst other important aspects of education. Depending on the outcome of the referendum Scottish schools would change affecting pupil’s education and shaping their futures.

Gender balance

How did gender affect me during primary school?

I was taught by all female staff whilst I attended primary school, I was always very comfortable in the classrooms as I felt I could relate easily to another female. I never felt that I was categorised by gender throughout my early years of education as the boys and girls all took part in the same activities for example sewing and art. As a class every pupil was treated in the same manner regardless of gender. This made me feel that my gender did not impact me significantly.

However during physical education in my latter years of primary school I felt very intimidated during lessons as the boys were much more competitive and aggressive than what I was. This made me nervous to play sports such as basketball or football as I was not able to play at my best ability.

There are no studies that prove that gender affects the ability to learn in a classroom, and from my own experience of being within a school environment I found that the teachers ability to inspire and engage a child was more integral on how the child learns. My teachers that I found to be the most inspiring were the lessons that I can still recall now many years later.