About cookies

The NCETM site uses cookies. Read more about our privacy policy

Please agree to accept our cookies. If you continue to use the site, we'll assume you're happy to accept them.


Personal Learning Login

Sign Up | Forgotten password?
Register with the NCETM

Mathematics Matters Lesson Accounts 32 - Algorithms of Prim & Kruskal

This page has been archived. The content was correct at the time of original publication, but is no longer updated.
Created on 06 June 2008 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 16 June 2008 by ncetm_administrator

Mathematics Matters Lesson Accounts
A collection of memorable mathematics lessons that conference and colloquia delegates had observed or taught which they felt were successful.  Each account refers to one or more of the values and principles in the report.

Lesson Account 32 - Algorithms of Prim & Kruskal

Written by Maggie Thomas
Organisation Northampton College
Age/Ability Range A2 students doing decision maths

How was the session/task introduced?
Prior knowledge covered– minimum connector, networks, graph theory in previous session on networks.

Groups of 4 students picked by the teacher. Two As and two Bs.

A3 paper and pen markers.

Blue tac.

Textbooks to be used as a resource.

Task was introduced by outlining what they had to do. – students were asked to work as a group to produce wall posters which they could use to explain to other students how the algorithm works. Half of class were asked to work on Prim’s algorithm and half on Kruskal. They researched the algorithms themselves from textbook resources.

How was the session/task sustained?
Monitoring progress of groups. Questioning groups on their work and discussion. Groups were asked to swap over – 2 from each group asked to swap over and then explain to the others how their algorithm worked.

How was the session/task concluded?
By an assessment of their new-found knowledge – worked exercise based on both algorithms as homework. Students asked to view each other’s work. Asked to write some notes on the work they had done.

What were the critical moments?
When work was stuck onto walls. Some groups had finished and others were still working.

What mathematics was learnt? (on plan and off plan) and what is the evidence of learning?
Minimum Connector problem Prim’s Algorithm Kruskal’s algorithm Evidence – wall posters, completed homework exercise; questions asked about differences the following week.

How was that mathematics learnt?
Effectively by most students, except those who would not fully participate in discussion.

Other memorable outcomes
It was fun for me!
The students said it was fun!
They seemed to enjoy the explaining to their peers as my recollection is lots of laughter.


Downloadable PDF

Click here to download this lesson account in PDF format.

Values & Principles

Fluency in recalling facts and performing skills
Conceptual understanding and interpretations for representations
Strategies for investigation and problem solving
Builds on the knowledge learners already have
Exposes and discusses common misconceptions and other surprising phenomena
Uses higher-order questions
Makes appropriate use of whole class interactive teaching, individual work and cooperative small group work
Creates connections between topics both within and beyond mathematics and with the real world

Browse by
Lesson Accounts
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 
21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30,
31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40,
41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50,
51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57
Search by ... Values
V1, V2, V3, V4, V5
Search by ... Principles 
P1, P2, P3, P4, P5, P6, P7, P8

Lesson Accounts Introduction

Mathematics Matters - What constitutes the effective learning of mathematics? find out more


Discover the 'Mathematics Matter' Project Forum







Comment on this item  
Add to your NCETM favourites
Remove from your NCETM favourites
Add a note on this item
Recommend to a friend
Comment on this item
Send to printer
Request a reminder of this item
Cancel a reminder of this item



There are no comments for this item yet...
Only registered users may comment. Log in to comment