My Favourite - Judy Maguire
Judy Maguire has been teaching for over 30 years mainly in the FE sector, including teacher education and most recently as a Professional Development Lead for the NCETM GCSE Maths Enhancement Programme. Her passion is helping to engage and motivate those young people who have been turned off maths in their previous learning experiences
My recently discovered favourite resource is from the NCETM GCSE FE Maths Enhancement Programme (MEP). The activity is a simple but highly effective one. It is used in the MEP as an introduction to Statistics and is ideal for that purpose. Learners are tasked with thinking about all the different ways they know that data can be represented graphically, bar charts, pie charts etc. Provide them with lots of sticky notes or small pieces of paper and ask them to make a quick sketch of each graph/chart. Explain it doesn’t have to be neat or accurate but does need to be recognisable and make sure they use a separate piece of paper for each diagram. After a few minutes ask a participant to stick one or more of their diagrams in a row on the whiteboard, wall or flipchart and write the names of the diagrams underneath each. One by one ask other learners to place one of their notes on the board and write the name of the graph or chart underneath. At this stage only new charts or graphs and their names should be added.
Once participants have no more different ones to add then ask all learners to come and stack their notes above the names of the appropriate diagrams, building up a bar chart on the whiteboard, wall or flipchart. Here are a couple of outcomes from recent activities:
(Exeter, February 2014)
(Oxford Brookes, January 2014)
The advantages of this learning resource are many but primarily it is learner centred and learners love it! It enables the learners to show off what they already know and allows teachers the opportunity to see what they do not need to revisit if teaching resit GCSEs. There is no judgement about what learners do not know but as you can see from the bar chart that is created, the teacher is able to assess at a glance which charts and graphs need to be taught and which only need a little polish!
If handled in a light-hearted way, the process itself can build confidence and enthusiasm for Statistics as well as heighten self-esteem in learners. Many of the MEP participants reported that they had tried it with their own students and that it was consistently well received. Why not give it a go as you introduce this topic in the autumn term? It is just as good for Functional Skills and basic Numeracy as it is for GCSE. Enjoy!!!