What is the average number of Year 9 students who would enjoy a lesson on Statistics?

November 25, 2010 § 2 Comments

One of the situations that I’m currently working on is letting Maths serve the conversation rather than the other way round. I am always challenged by Dan Meyer and his approach to hook students with a scenario so that they are the ones who introduce Maths to the discussion.

I’ve found that students can be more interested in solving data problems when the data is presented in interesting ways. My brother works as a graphic designer and his latest projects have been infographics. He is being inspired by these examples and also these ones.

Google earth is a  great way to have students look at meaningful data sets and then draw conclusions or consider patterns. So far I’ve only considered it for Year 12 students however you could easily modify this lesson idea for your students.

When introducing data it can be useful to see why people are interested in data and how mean, median and mode is applied in the big wide world. This could be an interesting video to watch.

At the ELH2010 conference earlier this year @robflavell suggested that this site would be helpful for students to investigate global data sets.  He also pointed me to this interactive statistics site where students can determine interesting trends in data.

Despite this video being annoying and horrible my students did like the melody.

We used a virtual space to help students investigate mean, median and mode. The students would fly alongside trees to measure their height and then record the data in Excel. You can check out some photos of that lesson here.


Maths and Technology Presentation at AIS Professional Development 2010

November 13, 2010 § 1 Comment

I’m going to be presenting on the use of technology to engage Mathematics students and connect Mathematics teachers on Monday 15th November.  The session will be run at a school in Sydney called Kambala and will (hopefully) be broadcast online at this USTREAM channel.

The first one hour broadcast should begin at 9:20am EDT and then a repeat of the session will run at 1:25pm EDT. You can convert the time for your area here. If you would like to be part of the action then please use the twitter hash tag #AISMATH and I’ll aim to respond verbally during the presentation. You may like to throw in #mathchat and #edtech as well. Links for the session are right here.

Hello, I am student john smith at your school.

November 7, 2010 § 1 Comment



I’d like to fail all of my year 8 Mathematics Assessment Tasks and then proceed to Year 9 Mathematics please.


It’s just like in real life where if I fail my driving test then I can still drive, right?


I’ve heard that uni is the same, you just turn up and then you study if you want and then get through.


What does fail mean?


Should all of the assessments be about basic skills?


Given that students are life-long learners, could they assess some life-long learning skills at school?


After all, there’s a good chance I won’t be needing all of the basic skills, I’ll need to be a problem solver.


What should I learn in Year 8 Mathematics so that I can succeed at Year 9 Mathematics?


Not just the basic skills, what are the problem solving skills that would help?


I need to learn how to learn, not just be spoon fed formulas and facts, right?


Hello, I am student john smith at your school.


I want to learn.





3am conference with my math super hero

November 6, 2010 § 3 Comments

Despite the wake up time of 2:50am I thoroughly enjoyed the Classroom 2.0 LIVE show this morning featuring Dan Meyer. He was speaking about ways to develop problem solving skills with students and some of the technologies used to engage and inspire students. This session was held via Elluminate which is a fantastic web conference platform. From the screen shot you can see a chat window and the names of participants. Then the presenter has audio and slides to go.

Dan began by talking about how in the classroom Maths text books primarily focus on the solution of problems (usually by plugging numbers into a formula) where as in real life we need to spend a lot of effort actually formulating the problem. He suggested that pseudocontext for Maths does not help students because it does not engage them. Pseudocontext is where either a boring or abstract idea is used to apply Maths and you can see loads of reconstructed examples here.

Next he went onto explain the types of technology that he uses to help engage learners. The technology he employs always aids the concept of,’Is this a perplexing question?’. 

There is a  list of the links mentioned in his session.

This is the Elluminate version of the session.

I like the look of the HoverCam.

I’ll be working through loads of these ideas with my team and I know that as we learn there’ll be a great impact on student learning.

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