Monthly Archives: December 2017

Discovering Mathematics- Reflection

At the very beginning of the Discovering Mathematics module I was quite anxious about maths as a whole however I had the intentions of getting the most out of the module and hopefully changing my attitude towards maths going forward in my teaching career. This module has definitely changed my outlook on the subject and my learning will without a doubt support me in the teaching and learning of mathematics in the future.

When first introduced to Liping Ma’s four key elements of profound mathematics in the very first input I must admit that I didn’t quite understand how these elements actually fitted in with the everyday mathematics we teach in our primary classrooms.

Now, at the end of the module I can safely say that I have a much deeper understanding of the four elements of (inter)connectedness, multiple perspectives, basic principles and longitudinal coherence and just how they will support me in the future. Ma (2010) states that:

“PUFM is more than a sound conceptual understanding of elementary mathematics- it is the awareness of the conceptual structure and basic attitudes of mathematics inherent in elementary mathematics and the ability to provide a foundation for that conceptual structure and instil those basic attitudes in students” (Liping Ma, 2010, page 106)

Ma also speaks about the depth, breadth and thoroughness of understanding that an individual with PUFM will have. They will be able to make links between individual pieces of mathematical knowledge and understand the connections between them.

Therefore, it is vital that we, as prospective teachers, are aware of PUFM and gain the confidence and competence needed in order to teach our future pupils mathematics in a way in which will benefit them in the future.

I would say that this module has helped me tackle the insecurities I had about teaching maths and going forward I feel as though I am much more comfortable with the prospect of teaching maths in the future. The module has really opened my eyes as to just how much mathematics plays a part in society around us each and every day. I will take forward this knowledge and use it in a classroom environment in the future as I feel that by linking maths to other areas of society, it makes it a more accessible subject for all and perhaps will engage those children who suffer from the ongoing issue of maths anxiety.



Ma, Liping. (2010) Knowing and Teaching elementary mathematics: teachers’ understanding of fundamental mathematics in China and the United States New York:

Maths, Games and Puzzles

In our final maths input we looked at the maths linked to puzzles and games. There are many games in which maths is involved and I feel as though it is a great thing to bring into the classroom in order to engage children with maths in a fun and interesting way.

The first puzzle we spoke about in the input was sudoku. Even though sudoku may seem complicated to some children, if they were to play this game they would be putting basic maths principles to use, e.g. addition. Sudoku is extremely accessible and is a great way to get children doing some basic maths but having fun at the same time.

There are also many board games which include some mathematical principles. A stand out game in particular is monopoly. The game of monopoly is very much based on money, therefore in a game of monopoly the players are learning about how to spend money and the player who plays as the banker will also put mental maths to good use in order to distribute change correctly.
Another example is battleships, this game involves the concept of co-ordinates and so would be a great way for students who are learning about co-ordinates to consolidate their knowledge in a fun and engaging manner.

Using games and puzzles in connection with maths will definitely be something I will take forward into classes in the future as I feel more children would enjoy and feel comfortable with maths if they associated it with enjoyment and something they find fun.

Maths, Supply Chains and Logistics

In a recent workshop we explored maths and the links it has with supply chains and logistics. This is something that I had next to no prior knowledge about however I left the lecture feeling very informed on the topic.

A supply chain is the processes involved in the production or distribution of a product. Many companies use maths all the time in the process of supply chains. Particular examples we touched on in the workshop was the use of maths when shipping products. We discussed certain products in particular and the best way we think would be to transport them from place to place. It was this discussion that made me think just how many principles of mathematics are involved in processes like this. There are so many things to be taken into consideration such as the mass of the products, the shape, how many need to be transported and many other factors. Problem solving will also likely be involved since it is unlikely that the first method of which a product was transported was the best and most appropriate method that could have been used.

In the workshop we were given the opportunity to try out some demand planning. Demand planning is the process used to “forecast” customer behaviour and demand and helps an organisation know how much of, and what they need to order to enable them to meet customer wants and needs.

We were given templates in which we had to decide which things we thought we would need to order at certain times of year, we had to take into account what customers would want at the time of year given to ensure that we made a profit. By the end of the activity we had made a profit however many others in the group seemed to have made much more money than we did. Why? Because many people had the idea of bulk buying a product such as baked beans which are sure to sell all year round and do not go out of date quickly, this meant that any products they did have left over could be carried over onto the next time period and eventually all of the beans were gone!
This shows that companies use maths to keep them in business, they do the maths to ensure that they have the correct amount of the correct products in order to make a profit and keep the company alive.

I feel like this kind of activity would be excellent for a middle/upper stages class. This would give them the opportunity to feel responsible for their own little business while performing some basic principles of mathematics. I feel as though the children would really enjoy an activity of this type and again, it would be a way of engaging children who perhaps aren’t so confident with maths as a subject however may find it more accessible in a fun way like the above and working as part of a group.