Focus on – starters
The start of a new session is the perfect time to think about how we start our lessons.
Odd one out: In these activities students are asked to justify which of three numbers/equations/graphs are the ‘odd one out’ and why? Alternatively, students can be given three numbers/equations/graphs and asked to list below each, what is ‘special’ about each of the numbers/equations/graphs compared to the other two. You can find some examples of starting points at 'Odd one out' PDF or PowerPoint.
What is the same and what is different? Alternatively, students can be given two numbers/equations/graphs/diagrams and asked, “What is the same and what is different?” Asking this question can be a good start to a topic. For example, before learning about elipses students can be given the equation of the general circle of the eclipse and asked to look for similarities and differences. See Same or different? PDF or PowerPoint, for some more ideas.
You can read more about these ideas at Starters.
Revision grids: A starter can sometimes be a good place to revise a previous lesson. This might be the previous day’s session or it might be a chance to return to a topic studied some weeks or months previously. Grids – for example, circle grids or number grids with generalised statements on to which students have to place actual examples – are one possible starter.
Posters: Many teachers have found giving learners poster paper for doing starters very beneficial as they have lots of space on which to write explanations and justifications. Or, you can simply ask groups to write a single number or word in the middle of a poster and then write everything they know about it. Ideas that have worked in the past have included: 2.09, 15%, ¼, time, triangles, circles, matrices. You could include the poster of 2.09 here which is on Active Learning - Maths for Life.
Videos: Some teachers have found the Maths in Work videos useful as starters. They show the students the video and once the students have identified the mathematics being used in it, they tell them this is the mathematics they will be studying in the lesson.
Other sites where you can get ideas for starters:
- Interactive starters and plenaries: a bank of ideas created by TES/PTRC forum members
- Starters of the day: there are 366 of these activities designed for KS3 pupils, but many can be used with older learners. Their format lends itself to being shown from a data projector or used on an interactive whiteboard
- Suggestions for lesson starters: these lesson starters were offered by delegates attending a mathematics course
- emaths starters has a wide variety of starters.