Teacher Inspiration Day 3 - June 2011

The NRICH Team organised a series of three Teacher Inspiration Days in Cambridge during the academic year 2010 - 2011. The aim was to support mathematics teachers who are committed to nurturing confident, resourceful and enthusiastic learners.

On the final day of workshops, delegates met to consider how different schools were setting about the task of ensuring that problem solving became an integral part of their curriculum.
Teachers from Comberton Village College set the scene with a short introduction and a presentation detailing how they use meeting time to share resources.

Their workshop offered delegates an opportunity to work on a favourite NRICH problem: Consecutive Sums

NRICH problems contain Teachers' Notes which address the following headings:
  • Why do this problem?
  • Possible approach
  • Key questions
  • Possible extension
  • Possible support
Teachers at Comberton Village College have used these headings to produce these forms which they use when they are considering the merits of including new problems in their Schemes of Work. 
They also use these forms with questions prompting them to consider how to use particular NRICH problems in their classrooms.

Finally they shared these useful ways of promoting the use of NRICH resources in their department.

Teachers from Swavesey Village College also shared their experience of using NRICH problems with their students. 
They started by getting us to work on Making Rectangles, one of a series of problems designed to develop learners' team working skills. This article links to the collection of "Team Building" problems.
One teacher dicussed how she had worked on Cuboid Challenge with her Year 8 class. Here are the student sheets and here is her lesson plan. Here is her flipchart from the lesson (if you do not have the ActivInspire software to view it, you can download the personal edition for free here).
Finally, we looked at how the other teacher had approached a lesson on Digital Roots with her Year 7 class.  Here are the student sheets and here is her lesson plan.

Here is a flipchart with the rectangles activity, some information on how Swavesey promote groupwork, and the digital roots activity.

Teachers from the Parkside Federation discussed what it means to be good at maths and the ethos for learning that informs their work. They then presented a group activity which we tackled together while performing different roles (Organiser, Resource Manager, Inclusion, Understanding).

Here is their presentation and here is the 'Views' activity that followed, as a Powerpoint and as a flipchart
At the end of the day Steve Hewson from NRICH presented his key ingredients for "How to grow exceptional mathematicians". Here is his presentation.

Sarah Hannaford from the Cambridge Admissions Office talked about the work that university does with schools, supporting applicants and their teachers. Here is her presentation.

The key useful links that she mentioned are to the Undergraduate Admissions area of the University website and the information for teachers page.
Links to Cambridge colleges with responsibility for each region/London borough are on this page
The Teacher Inspiration Days have been a great success and we are very grateful to the teachers from Comberton, Swavesey and Parkside for rounding off the series in such a thought provoking and inspiring way.