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Secondary Magazine - Issue 45: An idea for the classroom

This page has been archived. The content was correct at the time of original publication, but is no longer updated.
Created on 14 October 2009 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 27 October 2009 by ncetm_administrator

Secondary Magazine Issue 45   RISPs - Rich Starting Points

An idea for the classroom - Rich Starting Points

Having read Jonny Griffiths’ article in Mathematics Teaching 215, the most recent journal from ATM, about the use of Rich Starting Points, I was inspired to visit the website and investigate a few for myself. Beware – this is seriously addictive!

The first one I tried was RISP 8: Arithmetic Simultaneous Equations

RISP arithmetic simultaneous equations

I won’t tell you what happens if you want to try it!

Several things struck me as I worked through the problem:

  • Why restrict this to A Level? Surely GCSE students would be able to tackle this activity? Could I run this activity as part of GCSE revision classes?
  • This is a great way to have some differentiation in my classroom. Able students would be able to make headway with the investigation, whilst less able students would get the practice that they need in solving simultaneous equations.
  • Students are working on their own mathematics, albeit in the same context as other students.
  • This activity allows students to generate their own equations to solve, hopefully to try and test out particular ideas which they are suggesting. (Having done two examples, I had a theory involving common differences in my head which was dashed as I tried a third example).
  • The activity generates a need to solve the equations – to find something out – rather than wading through a page of questions for the sake of just doing them, which I know is a source of frustration to some of our students.

So would these general points apply to other Rich Starting Points? I had a look at RISP Brackets In, Brackets Out and had a similarly rewarding experience. Being a mathematician, I realise that two examples in no way constitute a proof but I did feel inspired to think about using more of these Rich Starting Points within the curriculum. 

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