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Workshop 7: An Open Approach

This page has been archived. The content was correct at the time of original publication, but is no longer updated.
Created on 24 March 2011 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 30 March 2011 by ncetm_administrator

Workshop 7 
An Open Approach
NCETM-funded project: Jenni Back, University of Plymouth

The Workshop
This workshop helped participants to gain insight into the nature of an ‘open approach’ to the teaching and learning of mathematics, drawing on work from two Mathematics Knowledge Networks; one led by Michelle Batstone from Boasley Cross Primary School in Devon and the other led by Chris Martin from Haverstock School, London. Jenni Back also referred to some Lesson Study work done by Derek Robinson from Bishop Luffa School in West Sussex. The networks have involved teachers in both primary and secondary schools in developing mathematically rich tasks that are accessible to students with a broad spectrum of attainment levels.

What these projects had in common was a desire, by the participating teachers, to adopt an “open approach” to mathematics characterised by:

  • rich tasks with a range of possible outcomes.
  • low threshold, high ceiling tasks where all children could access them and prior attainment was not a barrier.
  • activities which have the possibility of “making pupils’ learning visible” and, therefore reduce the need for over-use of summative testing.

Jenni then engaged the group in a couple of activities to exemplify this approach:

Activity 1:

  • draw a 3 by 3 square with 3 rows of 3 squares in each row.
  • shade in half of it.
  • create another and do it again – differently
  • create another and do it again - differently
  • and again …………….

Activity 2:

  • from the following numbers (1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 12) choose a number which is different from the others and explain why
  • find another
  • and another …………….

The workshop ended with colleagues sharing their own ideas for what they wanted to implement back in their own settings.

For information regarding lesson study see the Lesson Study section of the NCETM Professional Learning microsite


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