Building THINKING Classrooms
Peter Liljedahl , Assoc. Professor , Faculty of Edu, Simon Fraser Uni, Canada, has developed a revolutionary way of teaching maths.
He wants students of all levels to get the Aha! Experience in maths class. I met him at the ICME 13 congress in Hamburg.
His research, which extends across 600 Year 7 – 10 maths classrooms shows that his approach is very successful.You will find many examples of his recommendations at the Vertical Non-Permanent Surfaces hashtag or VNPS Twitter feed here.
This is what he recommends:
1. DEFRONT THE CLASSROOM
Students stand around the walls working. Desks allow anonymity and this means students can avoid thinking. Some call this approach 360 maths, but that’s just the beginning.
In the 360 Math Classroom the desks aren’t needed.
But wait, there’s more to this.
2. USE WHITE BOARDS
White boards proved to be the best non-permanent surface. Students scribbled calculations on the boards and wiped them off. They worked across the surface.
Some teachers even stood tables on end to get enough white board surfaces.In the following youtube clip teacher Lindsay Chinn is piloting 360 degree maths on whiteboards.
3. USE RANDOMLY SELECTED GROUPS
Frequent and visible random selection was very successful. Students accepted the fairness of this approach. And teachers devised all sorts of means of randomising groups. They gave students numbers and drew numbered marbles out of a bowl or pulled names out of a bag.
The groups should consist of 3 or 4 members to be effective.
Jacob, Morten, Philip and Shania attempt to calculate
where one of them should lie on the floor
to land an m&m from an m&m cannon in their mouth.
This is from fab Jes Jorgensen’s maths class in Denmark.
And here is the youtube clip in Danish.
4. PROVIDE OPEN ENDED MATHS TASKS
Here is a numeracy task recommended by Peter Liljedahl.
Here are some students from Mylene Abi-Zeid’s 1P Math Class in Ottowa, Ontario, Canada
working in a decentred classroom on Vertical Non-Permanent Surfaces. You will find Mylene’s Twitter feed here.
CELL PHONE PLANS
Students must pay for their own cell phone plans. There are three plans Pay As You Go, Basic Plan and Easy 4 U Plan. Costs are defined. Students must write an explanation that will convince their parents this is the best plan for them.
You’ll find open ended maths tasks for all levels here.
Plus some card tricks here.
And an excellent summary of Peter Liljedahl’s revolutionary ideas here.