Category Archives: edushare

Developing Effectiveness in Teaching and Learning – TDT- Ocearch!

Me and fellow student Samantha MacDonald decided to focus on one resource from Derek Robertson’s input – that resource being .

This is a shark tracker which shows the real time location of sharks movements. All the sharks have been tagged on their dorsal fin and have been given names by the organisation. You can find out the length, weight and type of shark as well as its recent locations. Above this you can focus on certain geographic locations, such as countries or even continents and track the sharks who live in their surrounding waters.

shark-track                  An example of Oscar the sharks recent movements off the coast of new York.

Here is a link to Oscars profile –

We think that this is a great ICT resource for ensuring the enrichment of learning across subject boundaries. Not only does it tap into science, for example, a topic on sharks in itself, but it also looks at geography. This resource can also link to maths and literacy.

By looking at the weight, size and types of sharks that exist in specific area, the children could look into why certain types of sharks inhabit specific areas of the world. For example, hot and cold climates.

This resource can also help children practice their map skills, and help them become familiar with continents, countries and oceans.

We can also launch an investigation into why these sharks travel so far and so erratically, possibly discussing what they eat, how they mate and how fast they travel. By looking at distance, speed and time, this could be incorporated into their maths. Looking at their diet and how they mate is again tapping into science as they explore further into the sharks habitat.

This could be done in groups or as independent study depending on age and ability of children. This could then turn into a literacy project where they can either write up their findings in the form of a power point, a booklet, a poster or a report.

This is a brief look into how this resource can be incorporated into interdisciplinary learning. We plan on looking into this further while researching for our assignment.

By Kirsty and Samantha



The Significance of Maths in Science!

“There is a strong relationship between science and mathematics.  Science is about exploring, describing, understanding and explaining our Universe.  To do this scientists have used mathematical tools for analysis of natural phenomena and describing the relationship  between natural phenomena in succinct and predictive ways.  Today many of our more abstract advanced ideas of nature can currently only be expressed in mathematical terms e.g. aspects of quantum physics, string theory and Dark Matter/ Dark Energy.” – Neil Taylor

Recently, we had an input in Discovering Maths from Neil Taylor, who is a Science Lecturer at the University of Dundee. He first of all asked us to write down every aspect of maths that we think is used in science. We came up with quite a lot:

IMG_8688Having done Higher Chemistry and Physics myself I felt very aware of the maths used in science, but didn’t quite realise how much!  In science, everything is measured. And I mean EVERYTHING; volume, density, speed, temperature and time are all to name a few. All equally studied in maths separately as well as under the term of measurement. The use of formulae in equations, for example in the top right of the photo is Distance=Speed/Time – a very useful and renowned formula that Science wouldn’t work without.

The use of graphs, charts and tables to display data is a huge one. This is important in science as all findings are tend to be shown in the form of a line graph, scatter graph, bar graph, or shown in various types of tables and charts. It is the easiest way for us to understand scientific findings, and its all down to maths! – E.g of my own graph from the input:


Even the use of positive and negative numbers that maths gives us – makes it easy to understand temperature, not only in Celsius but in Kelvin scale. Another couple of big ones are shapes, ratios, and converting numbers. Who could be bothered writing 1nm (nanometre 1×10^-9) as 0.0000001m every time? Not me! Not anyone in fact.

It just goes to show that our knowledge of maths is used in other areas, and are very important in these areas. This links in with a fundamental knowledge of maths, as it is allows us to revisit basic ideas from our early learning in maths and adapt these to suit the situation. For example, we all learned to do a very simple bar graph in primary school, a line graph maybe by p6/7, but never really used them again, or never used them for a purpose, only to answer a questionIn science, it is essential these graphs are used to display your OWN findings, so we are conducting a real mathematical activity.

It also allows us to form links between different subjects in maths. I must say I found the use of formulae easy in Higher maths as I had been regularly using it in Physics and Chemistry. Although they were used in completely different contexts, the concept remains the same and allows you to develop your skills in using these specific things.

Maths is extremely important, fundamentally, and every other aspect of it, especially in science. Science is one of the most progressive fields out there, and splits up into hundreds of different categories, where Maths is apparent and important in each. One part that is extremely important to the future of our society is energy – renewable energy. The use of turbines for wind energy, wave turbines for wave energy, and solar panels for solar energy are all on the rise in terms of popularity due to our finite resources such as oil and gas suspected to run out in the next 100 years or less. This means that the most efficient means of renewable energy must be implemented and this is all done by scientists and scientific technicians.

Also, in terms of the health sector, hundred of biologists and chemists research every day in order to find and improve medicines for our society. This could be done by carrying out tests which requires estimation, measuring quantities and displaying results on graphs – all areas of maths.

By having a fundamental awareness of maths we are able to use and apply mathematics in different contexts and relate the different concepts to form one body of knowledge. I feel as though this is done in Science to a degree, and science is crucial to our future. Therefore a knowledge of fundamental maths is also significant to the future of our wider society.


Musical Maths

Music and Maths – two subjects you rarely think of as being connected with each other. One deals with numbers, the other with sounds. Well, actually, they identify with each other more than you think.

“Rhythm depends on arithmetic, harmony draws from basic numerical relationships, and the development of musical themes reflects the world of symmetry and geometry.  As Stravinsky once said: “The musician should find in mathematics a study as useful to him as the learning of another language is to a poet.  Mathematics swims seductively just below the surface.”

– Marcus du Sautoy (2011)

So, maths is related to the rhythm of the music. Not only this but it is related to the beats in a bar, the chords, the tuning of the instruments and the scales. Specifically when tuning the instruments, we use frequency which is a mathematical term. Without the use of this, the instruments would not be able to be successfully tuned and we would be listening to some awful, awful music.

Personally, I use rhythm and the beat of a music a lot in dancing as I dance very regularly. We count in sets of 8 and generally choreograph a dance and speak of the dance in terms of sets of 8. For example, “We’ve learned four sets of 8 and only have another two sets until we reach the chorus”. Most, if not all, songs work in sets of 8, which repeat themselves over and over until the songs finish. This, fundamentally, is repetition which is an area of maths. Now every set of 8 is not the same pitch wise –  it varies, which links in with variation. Now because I know a lot more about dance than I do about music and its instruments, I’m going to focus more on this.

Again, society would probably argue against any correlation between a tango for instance and a higher maths topic, however it is not the specific topics in maths but the fundamental concept which is important in the world of dance. –

“Mathematics is present in dance. It is not the mathematics of simple number manipulation; we do not attempt to add or integrate through movement, instead we would like to employ abstract mathematics and various methods of analysis to understand dance at a deeper level.” –

If we move on from the aspects of music in dance we find ourselves in the types of dances. Of these, there are hundreds, but probably the most mathematically equipped are line dancing, Scottish dancing, and even hip hop. I am going to try and bring to light the fundamental maths which lies within dance.

Line dancing (although I am not an expert), tends to be done in lines, with very abrupt changes perhaps turning 90 degrees or 180 degrees, perhaps moving in a square or rectangular fashion. This obviously associates with shape and angles which you must be aware of whilst dancing this type of dance.

As for Scottish dancing, in most dances, especially with a partner, you are mirroring exactly what your partner is doing – my personal favourite is the Canadian Barn Dance. As you are mirroring what your partner is doing, you are in fact practising symmetry, which of course is a mathematical concept.

Lastly, some hip hop moves are extremely technical, with precise movements of the limbs, head and body to create different shapes. Hip hop is also one of the hardest types of dance to master as you have to work intricately with the beat of the music, sometimes dancing off beat. Now in order to do this you must have a strong understanding and concept of the beat in music, which relates to simply being able to count in your head and hold this count in your head (harder than it looks may I add!).

Lots of extra points on the matter here.

Logistics and maths and supply chains!

Recently in maths we were introduced to the idea of logistics and supply chains. Richard asked us to think about the food we eat, how it grows, where it grows and how it gets to us. It’s something that is an extremely important process yet one that I rarely ever think about! I just walk into Tesco and buy a bunch of bananas, not blinking an eye as to what their journey to the supermarket might have been like. Many things need to be taken into consideration; the shape of the product, the weight, how far it has to travel, how long it takes till it goes out of date, the temperature the product must be held at (we don’t want the ice cream to melt!), the packaging it comes in, how many are delivered and where they are delivered. The list could go on further, but it just goes to show you how we must mathematically use our brains even just thinking of factors of a food’s journey! Another example of how maths is all around us.

An interesting example of how the shape of the product can prevent the full potential of products being shipped is the watermelon. Because they’re round, lots of air is left in the packaging which is basically lost money for the distributors! So Japan came up with these,


Squared shape watermelons so they pack more easily! The Japanese using their mathematical knowledge and applying it to food distribution… However, it didn’t catch on.

On the receiving end of the food, are the supermarkets! Where a majority of us will buy our messages from and expect to find everything we need, in their usual place in the same aisle every week. However, the supermarkets don’t just receive a random amount of food and hope for the best – this is where demand planning comes in. Demand planning is something I have never particularly heard of or new existed, but something that supermarkets and retailers – any business actually – can simply not survive without! It’s when someone estimates how much of each product they must order in to their store that they aim to sell, not wanting to end up with too little stock which will reduce profit, and too much stock which will increase waste as it will go off. They must use their estimation skills, and knowledge of the market, their customers and general common sense in order to come to these conclusions.

In pairs, we went off and did our own demand planning, starting with a budget of 5000 euros and a list of products to choose from – Team ‘Synergy’ got started! We chose 5 products over a 3 month period, so over the summer season we opted for crisps, juice, beer – summer holiday essentials! The Christmas season brought turkeys, selection boxes and biscuit trays to mind, and these were reflected in the sales which were around 90 to 100% for all of these products throughout December. It is this problem solving and abstract thinking which is the fundamental maths we use when coming to these conclusions as we have to reason with ourselves and use our knowledge of the world to solve problems. In the end, we made a healthy profit of 25000 euros in 9 months, and only lost about 25 euros worth of bananas, which turned brown (yuck). Not too bad at all!

‘I hear of teachers crying on their kitchen floor because of the stress’

This article from recently popped up on my Facebook news feed. The image that came along with it was a woman sitting on a staircase with her head in her hands. I immediately opened the link to read it.

As a budding student teacher, stress is something I do worry a lot about experiencing in my future career. The stress of planning, marking, reaching outcomes, attending meetings, ensuring my pupils are meeting expectations, meeting (and hopefully exceeding) my own.. the list goes on. It’s a stress I know only too well from my last placement: 6 weeks, 5 days of responsibility, what seemed like a million lesson plans, continual assessment (of pupils and of me), daily reflections, weekly reflections, a folder to upkeep, planning and preparing my lesson for my crit for 8 (very, very, very long and stressful) hours. And that was just placement!!! I would be lying if I said I wasn’t reduced to tears on a few occasions. At the time, I put it down to me being an utter cry baby – I cry at corrie on a regular basis – lack of sleep, never-ending workload, and a fear of failing. I almost accepted it as part of the job! I saw no issue with me feeling so stressed, no problem with the fact something I generally loved doing was causing me to feel so under pressure all the time. Is this completely wrong? Should stress really be included in teachings job description?

I understand as a student, we have to do certain things in a certain way that qualified teachers will not, but in retrospect, teachers do everything I was learning to do, all day, 5 days a week, throughout the entire school year. Being constantly watched and assessed, by my class teacher, other members of staff, the pupils, and most of all, my tutor, was difficult but completely mandatory – I was of course a first year student and never taught in a classroom before. BUT – teachers still have to undergo this scrutiny throughout the rest of their career, and their professional development, by fellow teachers, headteachers, the GTCS and HMRI inspections! It’s never ending! Not to mention this is ON TOP of everything else I’ve listed previously. I understand and appreciate it is important for teachers to continually develop, I am making a point that in my opinion it adds to stress. Furthermore, this is only one small part of a teachers day to day obstacles they must overcome.

I’ll always remember in a lecture a few months ago, lecturer Susan Buckman asked us if we thought teaching was a stressful job. Immediately, almost everyone put their hands straight up, including me. She turned round and told us that “it doesn’t have to be”, and that really stayed with me. Reading this article relates a lot with what Susan was saying..

“Teachers, as professionals, expect to work hard but should not be expected to devote every minute of their lives to their work. Teachers need time to relax, to pursue hobbies, to talk to their families and friends. They need time to be human.”  Bousted, M. (2015) 

I think this is so important. Though working extremely hard is part of the job, teachers need time to unwind and as Mary Bousted says above, be human beings! Stress should not take away from what is otherwise an extremely fun, rewarding and valued profession. Although as teachers we have mountains to climb everyday, it should be a fun journey, where a little stress is good, but not enough to amount to crying on the floor. What could be done to ensure this?

This article touches on so much more than I have even began to mention, so please read and see what you think!‘i-hear-teachers-crying-their-kitchen-floor-because-stress’




Bousted, M. (2015) ‘I hear of teachers crying on their kitchen floor because of the stress’. Available at:‘i-hear-teachers-crying-their-kitchen-floor-because-stress’ (Accessed: 24 October 2015).

Number Systems

Yesterday in the Discovering Mathematics elective we were discussing number systems and investigating patterns and sequences. We were asked why we have numbers, which – to me – is one of those questions that just makes your mind go completely blank. So, why DO we have numbers? Some say for time and distance – measuring if something is twice as far away, others say numbers are used to make things fair by halving between two people. I think there are far too many possibilities to fit in one answer. Numbers are around us all of the time, from our phone numbers to telling the time, to watching the speed at which you are driving your car. Numbers allow humans to compare, with some anthropologists suggesting that trading created a need for numbers.

Instead of focusing on numbers, we looked at the actual numerals themselves. Numerals as we know them, 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0, is only one form used, although probably the most popular, in the world. There are also –





Considering the different numerals used worldwide, our activity was to create our own numeric alphabet from scratch. Each numeral’s symbol, the name of the individual numeral and the name of the numeric alphabet had to be completely made up. So we got to work…

We started off with a triangle theme, because we felt like it!

Then when we got to 5, we turned our 1 – 4 numerals upside down..

Then we decided our numerals would simply be called the same as ours, but backwards. The result – Slaremun!


We decided our numerals would take the same form as ours, e.g, number 10 is made up of a 1 and 0, and 11 out of 1 and 1.

We then put slaremun into a quadratic equation..


..and it worked! We were so proud of ourselves we had to give our group a round of applause. I definitely think slaremun could be the future number system used worldwide.


My Educational Philosophy

I value many things about education which is why I believe I chose to study it at the University of Dundee. I have had a very positive experience throughout my school life and was always in a vibrant learning environment which, at the time, I never really appreciated. I realise now that the fact I have access of the easiest kind to an education is a luxury that not many children in this world have. Once I realised this, the amount in which I valued education increased dramatically.

My teachers have all wholeheartedly cared about not just my success in learning but also me as an individual person, which is very important as it helped me build relationships with them as I grew up. I believe that because I always had support from my teachers and felt inspired to be like them, I have come to credit them hugely and value them as a crucial part in education. This has fuelled my aim to become a teacher, as I would like to one day be a crucial part in someone else’s own education, and inspire them as I have been inspired.

I also value the fact that education helps you accomplish self-improvement. You are always encouraged to improve and develop your own learning which also helps to thrive academically and enhance personal intelligence. By accomplishing your own self improvement and reaching personal goals it can motivate you to further develop skills.

The idea of school can contribute to the enhancement of social skills and allow you to make friends and form social groups. You also have the opportunity to learn a wide range of subjects with the chance to later on specialise in those that you enjoy. This is another thing I value about education as school not only teaches you raw knowledge from books, it also allows you to adapt to society and gain the social skills you will need in later life.

I believe that education is not centred around one specific aspect and should be about a mixture of different things. The ethos of the school is a central part to education and how the importance of the environment within the school can develop and include all of the learners. There must be a level of discipline and behaviour management in order for things to run smoothly and fairly as well as a varied range of subjects to enhance learning as much as possible. As well as the pupils idolising and respecting their teachers, there must be a level of value for the children and young people themselves. Also, education should not only emphasise academia and achieving grades, it should also be about meeting the emotional needs of the individual child and allowing them to enhance their own social skills.

The idea of being a part of this excites me, and spurs me on to do well and finish my Masters in Education and being the teacher I’ve always wishes to be.

Sweden vs UK – Early Years

I recently had a lecture on Comparative Education, and it focused on the difference in Early Years in Sweden compared to the UK. I was completely shocked at the difference, and it really opened up my eyes to how these differences can affect a child’s learning.

First of all, Early Years in Sweden lasts until the child is 6 as they don’t even start school until they are 7! In the UK, kids start school at the age of 4 or 5 regardless of whether they are ready or not. Beginning to learn to read and write at 4? It almost seems impossible and for some children it is, making their time unenjoyable and demoralising even from such a young age as they can’t keep up. It can also cause stress for the teacher as they are having to ensure their class reach certain standards almost straight away. Here in Dundee, kids are thrown into the world of ‘Read, Write, Ink’ almost as soon as they walk through the doors of primary one. At age 4 and 5 in Sweden, they spend half of their day outdoors, climbing trees, singing songs and having fun, which in my opinion is what they SHOULD be doing at that age, building and developing vital social skills – not literacy or numeracy.  More views on the British school starting age here –


The Scottish Government recently increased the amount of free hours of childcare 3 year olds are entitled to.  This is all fair and well, but it doesn’t help parents who have full time jobs as they still have to pay for extra hours (which is usually a staggering amount), and what about before the child is 3? In Sweden, pre-school centres are open from 6am until 6pm to suit every family’s needs for children aged 1 to 6. Childcare is heavily subsidised by the Swedish Government (Sweden spend on average 3 times more than the UK on nursery education) with parent’s only having to pay approximately #7.50 per child for the WHOLE day – including all meals and snacks. In these pre-schools, each room is extremely decluttered to allow room for play, and gives off a very homely vibe, including a kitchen (which the kids are allowed to access whenever they wish to get a drink or a snack). The children and teachers remove their shoes inside, and eat breakfast and lunch around the table together. In my view this creates such a special, family-like atmosphere in which the children feel safe – an extremely vital part of early years development.


In the Swedish curriculum it states that it should not be the child themselves that are evaluated, but the processes of learning. I completely think this is correct, as what is important is not so much the result but the journey. It also contributes to a highly enjoyable learning environment where, the children learn without realising as they are having fun! In the UK, we work towards tests and prepare the child for testing, whereas in Sweden they work towards the individual child. This is so important. The child should always be priority.

In Curriculum for Excellence, there admittedly is more of a focus on outdoor education, which most likely has been inspired by the likes of Sweden or other Scandinavian countries. However, pre school children in Sweden spend at least half of their day outside regardless of the weather; by the lakes and mountains; climbing trees; walking through the woods; sailing across the lakes; building bonfires. As soon as there is a a spot of rain in Scotland the wet lunchtime bell rings. Although I completely admit there is a profound culture difference, I still think Sweden are doing something right. Outdoors, the children are using all of their senses whilst being independent, having fun, and learning key skills. All without the use of follow up work sheets, meeting experiences and outcomes, or using thumbs up as a form of assessment. In my opinion this system sets a brilliant foundation for children’s learning whilst allowing them to be free and letting ‘kids be kids’.

And for those of you thinking that because they start formal schooling nearly 2 years later than us, they must surely be behind us academically? Wrong. Sweden lead the literacy table in Europe. Could this be because of their play centred learning approach in the early years?

Although I know change will not come overnight – it never does – I really hope that one day Scottish Education in the early years becomes similar to Sweden, or at least follows in some of it’s footsteps. Maybe later in my career as a teacher I can be a part of this change. Fingers crossed!

Video linked below:


All information from references and video attached.

Alvestad, M. and Pramling, I. (1999) A Comparison of the National Preschool Curricula in Norway and Sweden‟. Early Childhood Research and Practice, 1/2 Downloaded from

Alderson, P. (2008) Young Children’s Rights: Exploring Beliefs, Principles and Practice. 2nd ed. London: Jessica Kingsley Publications.