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Professional Development Module 2 - Primary & Secondary

This page has been archived. The content was correct at the time of original publication, but is no longer updated.
Created on 14 May 2008 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 21 October 2010 by ncetm_administrator

Learning Maths Outside the Classroom


In November 2006 the DCSF published its manifesto 'Learning Outside the Classroom'. The NCETM actively promotes the learning of mathematics outside the classroom, this part of our web portal features projects that demonstrate good practice from many parts of the country. This professional development module for primary and secondary is designed to follow on from the work begun in module 1.

Professional Development Module 2 - Primary & Secondary

This module is designed to follow on from the work begun in Module 1 (it is assumed that there is general agreement to continue developing learning outside the classroom). It guides the group through reviewing the project so far, before exploring how you might extend learning mathematics outside the classroom, beyond the confines of the school grounds.

Click to download the Professional Development Module in a printable pdf format
Click here to download the full version of the Professional Development module 2 - Primary & Secondary in a printable pdf format
Click here to download Handout 1 in a printable pdf format

Before the professional development session
The colleague leading this session should follow the following link on the NCETM portal, to sites offering support for learning mathematics outside the classroom. It would be useful to select a number of the most relevant sites for pairs of teachers to study on laptops during the session.

It is expected that all teachers will have:

  • tried out, with a class, at least one of the packages of materials developed after the last module, and
  • prepared notes to support the discussion in this session

How was it for you? (Allow about 10 – 15 minutes)
At the end of the last professional development session from Module 1, teachers agreed to try out, with a class, at least one of the packages developed by colleagues and to come prepared to discuss their experiences.

In small groups, share your experiences, including:

  • what went well,
  • the impact on learning
  • the impact on the attitude of learners
  • suggestions for changes and
  • possible extensions / developments.

If time permits, share any general points with the whole group.

Introduction to Activity 1 (Allow about 5 minutes)
The teacher leading the session should set the scene for developing the work beyond the confines of the school grounds.

Hopefully, the usual teacher fears will not have been realised in the first experiences of facilitating learning outside the classroom. In particular:

  • discipline was not a major issue
  • learners remained on task
  • real learning took place

There is only so much that can be achieved by restricting the work to the immediate school grounds and the purpose of the next piece of work is to explore some possibilities of going further afield. Some possible areas to explore initially:

  • local and national museums, places of interest and theme parks may already have guidance on mathematical activities linked to exhibitions, mathematics trails and other resources
  • special projects exist around the country to promote learning outside the classroom, including mathematics
  • teachers or organisations who share appropriate ideas and resources, often online.

Activity 1 (Allow about 30 minutes)
Working in pairs, explore some of the website links provided by the NCETM portal, and / or local sources.

Ask each pair should aim to collect information on:

  • what the website or venue appears to offer
  • if the source is too far away, whether something similar could be developed locally
  • some suggestions for the areas of mathematics which could be developed
  • any likely opportunities for cross-curricular work

Handout 1 could be used to record notes in a common format.

Discussion (Allow about 20 – 25 minutes)
In small groups, containing one from each original pair, share the findings from the website exploration.

As a group, choose a small number of sources for further exploration. Agree on which members of staff will take the work forward.

Next Steps
Following the session, it would be useful for a small representative group to investigate the selected projects further, with a remit to report back to the whole group by a specified date.

There are likely to be a broad range of options, depending on the distance to the venue. The options might include a whole day of half day trip; some venues even offer over-night accommodation for teachers and learners.

In all cases, considerations should be given to:

  • the likely need for considerably more advance preparation than the earlier work around school
  • the possibility of an advance planning visit by teachers
  • the production of more materials, since a lengthy trip usually requires more activities
  • development work with learners, in school, to prepare the ground for the mathematics involved.




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