Topic (follow-up to Thursday, 11th November 2010):
Which works better - long-term projects and investigations or ones which can be completed in one or two lessons?
As it happened on Monday, 15th November 2010, 19:30 - 21:00 GMT
7:36 pm
ColinTGraham:
Hello everyone and welcome to Monday's #mathchat
7:37 pm
ColinTGraham:
If it's your first time, don't try to keep up with everything but interact with one or two people instead. Don't forget the ----> #mathchat
7:38 pm
ColinTGraham:
Tonight's topic is: Which is better - long-term projects and investigations or ones which can be done in one or two lessons? #mathchat
7:40 pm
ColinTGraham:
So, apart from timing, How do long-term and short-term investigations or projects differ? #mathchat
7:44 pm
ColinTGraham:
No chatters tonight? #mathchat
7:49 pm
suburbanlion:
project duration seems like such a superficial quality to concerned about & independent of effectiveness #mathchat
7:50 pm
ColinTGraham:
I guess most of the UK contingent are in modular exam groove at the moment! #mathchat
7:51 pm
ColinTGraham:
@suburbanlion I'd agree, Ryan, but the length of the project is often related to other pressures such as exams or production... #mathchat
7:53 pm
ColinTGraham:
@suburbanlion Project duration can also have an impact in terms of whether students are overwhelmed by the size of the task #mathchat
7:55 pm
Janshs:
OK I'll throw in my view: #mathchat I think invetigations are often best done in fairly short timescales *but* data handling may take longer
7:57 pm
suburbanlion:
@ColinTGraham if the size of the task is overwhelming, then perhaps the topic wasn't engaging enough to begin with? #mathchat
7:57 pm
ColinTGraham:
@Janshs Best done in terms of successful outcomes or ease of introduction and performance, Jan? #mathchat
7:58 pm
ColinTGraham:
@suburbanlion Possibly, or just the whole idea of how to approach a long-term project is something that needs to be taught #mathchat
7:59 pm
Sundayteatime:
In FE rarely get the same group two lessons in a row so tend to keep investigations in isolated lessons #mathchat
7:59 pm
Janshs:
@ColinTGraham hmm I think outcomes tend to be better for many of us if we don't have a chance to prevaricate, performance =? #mathchat
8:00 pm
ColinTGraham:
@Sundayteatime How long do your FE lessons tend to be? I suspect longer than Secondary, for example... #mathchat
8:02 pm
ColinTGraham:
@Janshs I just wonder if a lot of the so-called investigations are really just applications of process to assess a curriculum item #mathchat
8:02 pm
Sundayteatime:
1 hour functional maths, 2 hour GCSE and hour an a half A level. #mathchat
8:02 pm
Janshs:
@ColinTGraham yes good point, I haven't got into the functional skills stuff - have you? #mathchat
8:04 pm
ColinTGraham:
@Sundayteatime My NQT year was in a college of FE, and the 90-minute GCSE class worked better than the 2 45-min in my practice. #mathchat
8:05 pm
ColinTGraham:
@Janshs Functional stuff with adults in a two-hour class, but not in its new explict form at secondary! #mathchat
8:06 pm
ColinTGraham:
When you do investigations, do you or your students decide the content, and how is the investigation designed? #mathchat
8:07 pm
Sundayteatime:
@ColinTGraham yeah 45mins is too short. However the 150 mins we were doing for november resits were a killer. #mathchat
8:09 pm
ColinTGraham:
@Sundayteatime What was the 'killer' element... too long/too short or content requirements? #mathchat
8:14 pm
Sundayteatime:
@ColinTGraham too long to keep focussed a group of teenagers who mostly didn't want to be there. #mathchat.
8:16 pm
ColinTGraham:
@Sundayteatime So this comes back to Ryan's point earlier about engagement. Do you think change of content would help? #mathchat
8:20 pm
ColinTGraham:
Do you think enough investigation or enquiry-based work is done in mathematics lessons, so reducing effectiveness generally? #mathchat
8:24 pm
dweksler:
@ColinTGraham Could investigations or inquiry be integrated into other school subjects - towards project-based learning? #mathchat
8:26 pm
ColinTGraham:
@dweksler This has been suggested before and tends to work better at primary/elementary levels, before 'subject' specialisms. #mathchat
8:28 pm
ColinTGraham:
Another question, raised on Thursday, was whether or not mathematics lends itself to long-term investigations at secondary level #mathchat
8:31 pm
dweksler:
@ColinTGraham Not sure I believe that project-based learning (PBL) can't work with older students - depends on teaching/planning #mathchat
8:33 pm
ColinTGraham:
@dweksler In most examples I've seen used or heard about, the maths tends to be integrated with a 'bigger' idea, not maths alone #mathchat
8:35 pm
dweksler:
@ColinTGraham Well, yes. If you DON'T want the math integrated then it's not really about PBL - the goal would be a balance #mathchat
8:37 pm
ColinTGraham:
@dweksler So does that mean you think that a purely mathematical project is not possible? #mathchat
8:40 pm
cybraryman1:
Math Puns: http://bit.ly/cikNPZ He became a math teacher due to some prime factors. #mathchat#math
8:40 pm
dweksler:
@ColinTGraham I'm sure it is possible. I think the larger project (building a bridge, designing fabric) can provide motivation #mathchat
8:41 pm
ColinTGraham:
@dweksler So again, the theme seems to come back to the way in which the investigations are designed... engaging content/purpose #mathchat
8:43 pm
dweksler:
@ColinTGraham engaging content (whatever it is) seems like a good starting place for learning #mathchat
8:44 pm
ColinTGraham:
Let's focus on the idea of content/design to close today... What investigations, however long, have you done that were effective? #mathchat
8:48 pm
ColinTGraham:
RT @Sundayteatime: yes definitely. I'm sure they'd be more motivated if it didn't involve learning maths. #mathchat
8:49 pm
republicofmath:
@ColinTGraham Investigation of still unsolved 4 peg Tower of Hanoi problem. Gripped most students #mathchat
8:49 pm
ColinTGraham:
@Sundayteatime So 'hiding' the maths inside something larger, where it is a major necessity, is likely to work better? #mathchat
8:51 pm
ColinTGraham:
@republicofmath Do you think it gripped because it was something no-one had done before, Gary? i.e. not being 'led' to an 'answer' #mathchat
8:51 pm
ColinTGraham:
@republicofmath ...or was it more that it didn't seem like maths, as such! #mathchat
8:54 pm
republicofmath:
@ColinTGraham Students thought they knew 3 peg solution, saw what it took after critique. Thought 4 peg was within their grasp #mathchat
8:55 pm
republicofmath:
@ColinTGraham Oh no! It seemed like math - even maths -alright. That's what they relished. #mathchat
8:56 pm
ColinTGraham:
@republicofmath So the investigation should be something that is perceived as achievable, even if it isn't or hasn't been... #mathchat
8:57 pm
ColinTGraham:
RT @Sundayteatime: @ColinTGraham or giving up and going home :-) #mathchat
8:57 pm
dweksler:
@ColinTGraham Thanks for the back and forth - I'll leave you with this (some ideas from Papert):http://bit.ly/30TUl3 #mathchat
8:58 pm
republicofmath:
@ColinTGraham Think they realized for first time what math research is about. #mathchat
8:59 pm
ColinTGraham:
@republicofmath I think even understanding or realizing that mathematics is something which can be, and is, researched is a step! #mathchat
9:00 pm
ColinTGraham:
@dweksler Thanks David. And thanks to everyone else for your contributions tonight. The archive will be online in about 30 mins. #mathchat
9:00 pm
republicofmath:
@ClinTGraham Maybe "achievable" is too strong a word, but should offer avenues to exploration - modeling, computation eg. #mathchat
9:01 pm
ColinTGraham:
Don't forget to vote for the next topic! http://mathschat.wikispaces.com/Current+Poll #mathchat
9:02 pm
ColinTGraham:
See you all next time! 29th November will be a bit different, so watch this space... #mathchat
9:03 pm
dweksler:
@ColinTGraham Cheers, Colin. Thanks again #mathchat
9:04 pm
elenelsecchio:
Just caught the trail end of #mathchat to see "29th of November will be a bit different". Intrigued!