# The End of Discovering Maths

Before this module I saw maths as a boring subject which I wasn’t very good at and had no interest in. However now that the module has finished I see maths as a fascinating subject, which I use on a daily basis without even realising.

Three months ago I wrote my first blog post saying how I never had a good experience with maths over secondary school and how the thought of doing this module scared me. I can now happily sit here today, and say how I think this module has taken away my fears and anxieties I had relating to maths. Throughout my life I always heard people say ‘im bad at maths’ or ‘I’m not a maths person’, which I think made me believe I wasn’t either. Throughout this module I have learned that this isn’t the case as maths is involved in nearly all aspects of my life from baking, participating in sports and even planning what train I’m going to get, and considering I make my dinner and make uni on time (most times) I must not be too bad.

I have thoroughly enjoyed learning the four principles Liping Ma speaks of, ‘to fully promote mathematical learning’ (Ma, 2010, pp.210).  Having a knowledge of the four principles connectedness, multiple perspective, basic ideas and longitudinal coherence will help me to ensure I teach my pupils about the links between mathematical topics and how each mathematical topic depends on one another. It will also remind me to promote the many different ways there are in order to reach an answer to a maths problem (Ma, 20100.

I am no longer scared at the thought of teaching my future class maths, as iv learned it doesn’t have to be all fractions and percentages from a textbook, instead I am exciting to make maths creative and show pupils the relevance of maths in their daily lives. One of my new aims I want to have as a teacher is to avoid maths anxiety in my classroom by incorporating the 6 ways I have learned maths anxiety can be avoided. These six things include: playing maths games, being aware of my own attitude towards maths, practising the subject with my class, getting rid of the idea that someone ‘cant be good at maths’, giving help from an early stage and getting children to shake off mistakes (Lee, 2016).

Lee, K. (2017) How You Can Help a Child Who Has Math Anxiety. Available at: https://www.verywell.com/how-you-can-help-a-child-who-has-math-anxiety-620833 (Accessed: December 2017)

Ma, L. (2010). Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics: Teachers’ Understanding of Fundamental Mathematics in China and the United States. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge.

# The creativity of Maths

Before this module I saw maths as a boring subject which involved sitting with a text book doing fractions and percentages but throughout this module I have realised there is more to maths than a boring subject which  I needed to get into uni.

The first workshop which changed my opinion of maths and I particularly enjoyed was with Eddie. That was the input when I discovered maths can be used in many creative ways.

We began the workshop exploring tessellations, which is “a repeating pattern that fills a space without overlapping”. There are different types of tessellations including regular, which involves one regular shape being repeated and semi regular tessellations which involves more than one regular shape being repeated, both creating a pattern (Lee, 2011).

A ‘regular’ shape is one which has all its sides the same length and all its internal angles the same size. The regular shapes that tessellate are: squares, hexagons and equilateral triangles. ALL triangles and quadrilaterals also tile but they are not ‘regular’ shapes and you often have to rotate them to make them fit together.

The reason regular shapes tessellate is due to the angle they make where the vertices touch – 360⁰ (Harris, 2000).

Tessellations are common in Islamic art, with three fundamental shapes playing a large role in the design of the patterns, found in many Islamic buildings. The three shapes are:

• Equilateral triangles- these represent harmony and human consciousness.
• Squares – these represent the four corners of the earth.
• Hexagons- these represent heaven (lee,2011).

Having a go at creating our own Tessellations

The second half of the input was used to let us create our own tessellations. We had the choice of shapes and colours we wanted to use, and it was a thoroughly enjoyable activity. This activity made me think of how other aspects of learning can be incorporated in this to further learning. For example if doing this with an early years class shapes and colour can be explored and with an upper years class angles, symmetry and size could be looked at.

As well as other principles of maths being incorporated, simple life skills could be taught too, along side this lesson. For example how to use scissors, how to manage time (if given a time limit) and how to work in groups (if made a group task).

Exploring maths and art together in the one input allowed me to see an example of how Lipings Ma’s “connectedness” can be brought into the classroom (Ma, 2010). I can now vision teaching my future pupils about tessellations in maths and then having a go at creating our own patterns in art, to highlight how some subjects across the curriculum have links with one another and also that maths can be creative !!!

Harris, A. (2000) The Mathematics of Tessellation. [Online]. Available at: http://ictedusrv.cumbria.ac.uk/maths/pgdl/unit9/Tessellation.pdf (Accessed: 1 December 2017).

Lee, A. (2011). [online] Tessellations in Islamic Art. Available at: https://classroom.synonym.com/tessellations-in-islamic-art-12085299.html [Accessed 1 Dec. 2017].

Ma, L. (2010) Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics – Teachers’ Understanding of Fundamental Mathematics in China and The United States. London: Routledge

# The Importance Of Maths…

Before this module I never realised the extent to which maths is involved in every day life and how beneficial having a mathematical knowledge can really be.

In a recent module we had Dr Ellie (from the university medical school) come to talk to us about maths and statistics. She told us how important it was for professions such as doctors and nurses to have a profound understanding of fundamental maths. For example a nurse has to be able to measure correct amounts of medication in order to treat patients correctly (Education Scotland, 2008). This involves having an understanding of measurments and graphs.

Measurements are used by nurses in order to measure out the correct medicine dosage in relation to children’s weight. Nurses also have to have a knowledge of graphs and charts, in order to monitor progress and keep track of how much medication a patient has consumed (Hothersall, 2016), Thus showing how important a knowledge of fundamental maths can be in order to save lives.

Learning about graphs and data analysis is not only beneficial for employees to know but also children of a younger age. Teaching graphs from primary school will build on a child’s life skills by encouraging them to become confident individuals and function independently in society as they will have the ability to process information (Education Scotland, 2008). This may help with aspects of their future, from simple tasks like reading train times to understanding and adapting to the way in which the world is changing and be able to work out problems.

Yes, maths is essential in the workplace, but also during a persons regular day. From setting your alarm, planning how long a task will take, calculating money in a shop and even cooking dinner, many aspects of fundamental maths are involved. Such as simple estimating, problem solving and addition and subtraction. From now on instead of saying ‘im not a maths person’ I want to remind myself of the many aspects of maths I participate in pretty much every day.

Refrences

Education Scotland (2008). What Is Curriculum For Excellence? Available at: https://www.education.gov.scot/scottish-education-system/policy-for-scottish-education/policy-drivers/cfe-%28building-from-the-statement-appendix-incl-btc1-5%29/What%20is%20Curriculum%20for%20Excellence?(Accessed: 1 November 2017).

Hothersall, E. (2016) ‘Numeracy: Every contact counts (or something)’ [PowerPoint]. ED21006: Discovering Mathematics (17/18) Available at: https://my.dundee.ac.uk/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_56905_1&content_id=_4941433_1&mode=reset  (Acessed: 1 November 2017).