Spent 3 periods doing Mathematics PD with Y7 / Y8 colleagues. Here are the key ideas…
- Putting students in obvious ability groups is unhelpful as students in lower groups tend to think they are ‘dumb’ and give up whilst higher ability students might avoid taking the risks that would allow them to gain greater insights
- Fostering a Growth mindset in students has proven to be a successful strategy
- Having meaningful mathematics activities (such as the Sierpinski pyramid made in stages from kebab sticks) is a good way of engaging students and teaching them about exponential sequences. The learning is particularly powerful when students commit to an initial answer and are then allowed to adjust their response in light of discussion / new information
For the most part I did not enjoy this PD as the interesting bits were interspersed with quite a bit of tedium. One issue is that the facilitator was not a Mathematics specialist and this limited the effectiveness of the material. Interestingly, the facilitator had no idea what Geogebra was and did not realise that they shape they had built was in fact a Sierpinski pyramid (meaning that participants who were not fractal enthusiasts might have missed out on an additional Mathematical insight which could have been passed on to students and lead to even further discussion growth).