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Place Value and Measurement

Published 5 months ago by Ann Baker

I really enjoyed working with the fabulous teachers at Parafield Gardens Primary School on Monday last week.

During the day we did lots of hands-on mental routines and measurement tasks. One topic, of course, was conversions and the need to have a really deep understanding of place value applied to measurement.

At lunchtime there were three old maths textbooks out on a table with a "Please take me" sign, so I did. You all know by now that I am a bookaholic and avid collector of old maths education books.

Back at home I gave one of the books the flick test just to see if it was of any real interest. For some reason I stopped on this page:


Buried in the 20 questions was Question 17, the one about the water flea. I stopped and seriously struggled to consider:


Then I scaled it up in my mind by 100 times and was surprised how big it suddenly seemed. In fact, I was quite intrigued and then began to feel quite annoyed that we don't allow time for curiosity and wonderment in the maths lesson. Nor do we expect students to come to understand how maths can explain and expand our understanding of the world.

So, what would happen if instead of 20 questions and boring worksheets, we allowed students to actually explore questions such as the waterflea one?

I suspect students would:

There is a strong case for slow maths. So why not get stuck into something that might interest students and get them to connect maths to intriguing actual scenarios?

Problematised Situations is one way to slow and deepen students' maths experience. Want to learn how?

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