Mathematical Thinking And Learning In Action

August 28, 2020  
Head of Junior School - Ms Geneva Clayton

We all engage in mathematical thinking every day, there is no such thing as a Maths person!

The personalisation of mathematics learning has been one of our focus areas for our students in the Junior School this year. students in Kindergarten through to Year 6 are being provided with the ‘just right’ level of learning. We call this the ‘Zone of Proximal Development’ of learning and equate this to the Goldilocks analogy of ‘not too hot, not too cold, but just right!’. Students are being provided with a programme of learning that is simply ‘just right’. This means that the learning is different across the grade, responding to the difference and need in each grade and stage. Groupings are fluid and the programme is targeted. The level of engagement of our students is incredible. They are being appropriately challenged, with intentionally targeted next steps, and the learning and growth speak for itself!

Ms Kylie Cook, Stage 2 Coordinator/Year 4 Teacher, provides an insight into the wonderful world of Mathematics at TIGS, with a particular highlight on Year 3 and Year 4.

Mathematics classrooms should be places where students believe:

  • Everyone can do well in Mathematics.
  • Problems can be solved with many different insights and methods.
  • Mistakes are valuable, they encourage brain growth and learning.
  • Mathematics will help students in their lives, as they learn to inquire in abstract ways.

Taken from: Jo Boaler; How students should be taught Mathematics: Reflections from Research and Practice.

In Stage 2, students in Year 3 and Year 4 are focused on growing these understandings through daily Maths experiences designed to build each students’ skill, knowledge, and understanding. They are required to take on challenges, collaborate and justify their thinking.

Learning in action – Deep engagement captured

Above: Year 3 students investigating odd and even numbers

Above: Year 4 students measuring the mass of objects

Year 3 and 4 student reflections
wonderful, personal insights

It’s great to see student reflections below that demonstrate a commitment to Mathematical thinking and ownership and pride in their growth.

“I used to only write the answers down but now I work mathematically by showing my thinking in my Maths Journal.”

“I enjoy the daily 10 because it focuses me and challenges me to do my personal best.”

“I used to give up if Maths was challenging but now I just keep trying and trying different strategies to work it out.”

“Now, I’m really enjoying multi-step questions.”

“I enjoy Maths groups because we all get a fair go and we practise new strategies in fun ways.”

“At first I wasn’t confident with division but I’ve really enjoyed learning more and I believe I have learned a lot.”

“I really like Maths, I enjoy working with friends and am learning lots of new things.”

In Year 6, there is a group of students guided as they investigate the binomial theorem as well as advanced algebraic techniques, as this has been identified as their zone of proximal development.

Photo of algebra work

Across the entire Junior School, students participate in regular pre-assessments to demonstrate their current level conceptual and operational understandings at an independent level. This provides valuable information about the next steps, it allows all our learners to set timely, personal goals and crucial data on which our teachers provide responsive, explicit instruction and experiences.


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