Category Archives: 2.1 Curriculum

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.

Maths and Sport

Maths and Sport have very strong links, most of which I had no idea even existed until our input on the subject and further research afterwards.

One very obvious link between the two is the use of different scoring systems in various sports. Some scoring systems are quite simple such as the one used in football- each goal scored by a team is counted as one and at the end of the game the team with the highest number of goals win the game. Other scoring systems such as the one used in tennis is a little more complex, in a game of tennis the scoring system usually consists of points, games and sets. All three link as you have to accumulate points to win games and accumulate games to win sets. Although slightly more complex maths is used in the scoring system for tennis than in games like football, maths is always at the heart of sports and is vital to ensure that the running of games is efficient.

John Barrow, a professor of mathematical sciences researches many different ways in which maths and sport are related and links these to particular formulas and even has mathematical theories in which it can be determined which events are the easiest to score in when participating in a decathlon.

The video below explains some of the links between sport and mathematics, examples being fluid dynamics being used to tailor and design swimsuits and a maths model being made to determine whether there is actually a limit to how much an athlete can push themselves. The main point that I have taken from this particular video is just how much mathematics is involved in the design and manufacture of sporting venues. Routes and structures are carefully analysed by mathematicians to ensure that the building/stadium etc can withstand its purpose, maths is also used to ensure that the structure can withstand various weather conditions including rain, wind and snow. Maths is used not only to predict what the needs are for the building, but also to predict the behaviour of the people who will be inside the building to ensure not only that the structure is appropriately designed for purpose but also that it is safe.

In our maths and sport input, we decided to look at the rules and the sport of taekwondo and how maths comes into the sport and how we can adapt the sport in relation to the maths involved. In taekwondo a game consists of three 2 minute rounds with a break of 1 minute between each round and the contest area is a 10m square mat. Like most sports, the game can be won by scoring the most points. The scoring system in taekwondo is fairly simple and does not involve complex mathematics- one point is scored for a strike to the body and two points are scored for a kick in the head. Another mathematical link to the sport is the weight divisions in use. By dividing people into categories depending on weight this allows the competition to work more fairly and allow competitors to have an equal chance at victory.

We, as a group decided to take the maths involved in taekwondo and adapt it to create our own version of the sport. We decided firstly to focus on the actual design of the ring the sport is played in, we suggested decreasing the size of the ring after every round- this means that the competitors will have less space and so the competition would gradually become more difficult at the beginning of each new round. We also decided that we would introduce a height division as well as the weight division that is already in place. This would again, ensure a fairer fight if the competitors were more mathematically matched in terms of their height as well as their weight.

Now that I am much more aware of the links between maths and sport I will now take my knowledge forward and hope to share this knowledge with the children I will teach in the future, in this way those who perhaps feel like maths isn’t a subject for them may find alternative ways to engage with the subject through other subject areas which may be of more interest to them.


Barrow, J. (2013) Decathlon: The Art of Scoring Points– Available at: (Accessed 27th November 2017)

Holme, R. (2017) “Maths of Sport” [powerpoint presentation] ED21006:Discovering Mathematics (Accessed 27th November 2017)


Maths and Music

Music is something that I have always had a strong interest in and I studied the subject throughout my time at high school. Little did I know just how many links there were between music and maths. I was always very aware of the simple mathematical concepts that were involved in music such as determining how many beats were in a bar or the different note values. However, after the maths and music input and further research into the topic I am now much more aware that there are many more links between the two subjects than meets the eye.

There are many basic links between maths and music, these links include: pitch, beats in a bar, note values, chords, intervals and sequences and patterns.

Wiggins (2012) states that pitch is something that can be related directly with mathematics as we can measure pitch. A musical skill such as tuning a piano makes use of mathematical concepts.

Also, by having an understanding of maths principles, it is then easier to have a more theoretical understanding of music and musical concepts. An example of this is the formation of chords. There are 13 notes in an octave, a scale, however, is formed of 8 notes and the 5th and 3rd notes in this scale form a basic ‘root’ chord. By understanding the intervals between notes and the numbering of the notes, this would allow a musician to be able to form the root chord of any note asked of them without really having to think about it.

Below is a video of a prime example of mathematics being used by extremely famous composer Beethoven, who was actually partly deaf and used his mathematical knowledge to create music that was so widely popular with listeners.


Besides mathematical and musical concepts being very closely linked, I was also interested in further reading about if the connection between maths ability and musical ability has actually been proven or if it is, in fact, just a myth.

In the article The Enduring Myth of Music and Maths (The Independent, 2011) it is stated that there is no evidence to back up the supposed “Mozart Effect” in that a group of children who have been exposed to music by Mozart are said to be more intelligent in subject areas like maths than children from a control group.

From my research I have found that there are in fact many links between music and maths that I did not know existed however there does not seem to be much evidence to prove that abilities in the two areas are linked. You do not necessarily have to be mathematically talented in order to acquire musical skills and knowledge.

I will take forward my knowledge of the links between the subject and hope to share them with those I teach in the future as music has always been a subject I have been passionate about but I never quite realised just how much of my mathematical knowledge I put to use throughout my studies of music. I feel that this may be a good way to help pupils who suffer from maths anxiety to put maths to use without actually realising it and hopefully improve their confidence along the way.



Gowers, T. (2011) “The Enduring Myth of Music and Maths”, The Guardian, 5th July, no page given.

Sangster, P. (2017) “Music and Maths” [powerpoint presentation] ED21006:Discovering Mathematics (Accessed 17th November 2017)






Teaching Across the Curriculum- Dance

When I noticed that a dance workshop would take place in the second week of the semester I instantly looked forward to participating. I have danced for around 13 years now and it has always been something that I see as not only a hobby but also as one of my main strengths. I taught a dance class for younger children during my final year at primary school and have been part of a dance group for as long as I can remember, now at which I assist in taking classes for younger dancers and have done for the past 3 years.

After reading parts of “Get Scotland Dancing: A Literature Review (2014)” I now have a clearer understanding of the various purposes dance can have- whether it be to improve physical health, to portray emotion or to reflect on human behaviour in society- dance is something that has an involvement in our lives at some point or another. Also by reading the article I have become more aware in the part dance plays in our culture here in Scotland which roots from our folk history. However, research has shown that at present, a low percentage of Scottish people participate in dance regularly. Dance can be a great form of improving physical wellbeing therefore if we teach dance to our pupils with enthusiasm and passion it will then allow them to enjoy what they are participating in whilst forming a healthy lifestyle and learning new skills all at the same time.

There are many individual factors which suggest that dance may only be aimed at a certain group of people, these factors include age, gender and motivations. It is part of our job, as teachers, to ensure that every child in our class feels as though they can fully participate and express themselves with confidence in the things they do, therefore by teaching dance from a young age, this will allow the children to both grow in confidence and develop their skills.

I feel as though my own experiences and my dance background will help me in terms of teaching the dance curriculum. I still feel as though I will face some challenges that will perhaps include getting the children to have the confidence to participate or finding the enthusiasm to fully enjoy what they are being taught. My goal, as a teacher is to ensure that all of my pupils feel confident and comfortable enough to participate and enjoy the dance curriculum, I aim for a relaxed environment in which the children can enjoy their learning and gain new skills.

Although I feel as though dance will be one of the areas I am most confident in to teach, I have still set myself a goal which is to familiarise myself with the curriculum around dance and to broaden my own creativity to come up with various different ideas to use whilst teaching dance to a class.

I feel as though teaching the dance curriculum will come with both ups and downs but it is something that I am greatly looking forward to doing in the future.