Reflecting on Discovering Maths

When beginning the module, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from it. In fact, when picking it at the end of first year I expected I’d be going into another maths class like at school – which filled me with excitement. I have to say I was a little disappointed when I found out this wasn’t the case.
However, the module has allowed me to explore so many areas of maths that I didn’t think of before. Who would have thought maths was necessary when riding a motorbike?
At the beginning of the module Liping Ma and her Profound Understanding of Fundamental Mathematics confused me terribly. I just couldn’t get my head around the meanings and explanations of the 4 principles she used to describe what a PUFM was. When reading her book, I was submerged into this and found out how important it really is. When looking back onto my first placement I’ve realised even more how necessary this is. One of my first maths lessons didn’t exactly go to plan and I ended up getting myself mixed up and confused by the questions the pupils were doing. The lesson was on area – straightforward to someone who has done Higher Maths – but when the pupils were coming to me confused about one particular question, I was beginning to get flustered when my explanations weren’t helping them to understand. I have now realised how important it is to have PUFM as it allows you, as the teacher, to explain much more to the pupils in depth and breadth. With this deep understanding, you are less likely to get confused yourself, which is vital when trying to instil confidence and understanding in the pupils.
Throughout the different inputs I found it fascinating to unpick all the different areas where maths is used. My favourite input was the one on Logistics and Supply Chains, which included information about food miles and how much it costs to fly or ship things to us, how things are packaged to maximise space when shipping and retailers having to choose what to stock in their stores. We then did a role play exercise and game to see how demand planning in stores worked. We had to work in pairs to choose what 5 items and how many of each item we would buy per quarter of the year, without going over budget, to see who could make the biggest profit. This allowed us to see how effective stores have to be when choosing what to stock, as if they buy too much of something and it goes off or people don’t buy enough of it, this will all be money wasted. They have to be able to budget their money efficiently and buy what will sell most. A tricky process even in a make-believe game.
Overall, I think the module was very effective at providing me with more maths knowledge and helping me to see how important it is that I do have a good maths knowledge for going out into schools. I need to be able to give the pupils in my class the best opportunity to learn maths in a fun and challenging environment that pushes them to the best of their ability. I believe the interaction in this module has helped me realise how important that is.

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