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:

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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.

More info on TEACH here. More on 360 Maths Classroom here.

But wait, there’s more to this.

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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.

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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.

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.

We need to talk it up. Spark their curiosity. Cafes, churches and libraries use chalkboards, billboards and prominent signs to get passersby thinking.

Why not maths?

Use a sandwich –style chalkboard ( if you are in a school where such a board wouldn’t be pinched or vandalised) or use a chalkboard or whiteboard in the maths room.

PROMO SAMPLE:

I’m theMaths Guru. Most people pick … Shhhh! … seven.

Explanation:

According to Alex Bellos, Favourite Number Survey, (The Observer, 12 Apr 2014) when asked to pick a number between 1 and 10 most people pick seven. This has a lot to do with our idea of randomness. One and ten do not seem random enough, nor do even numbers. This leaves three, five and seven as our choices. Forget nine. (Ooops! I did. You will too unless you have nine dogs or nine ex-wives/husbands or the like.) Five is in the middle and therefore does not seem random. We are left with two numbers and seven feels more random than three. According to Bellos

‘Seven “feels” more random. It feels different from the others, more special, because – arithmetically speaking – it is.’

Try it out!!!

Other PROMO signs you might put up in a maths room include: