The challenge | Many students, whilst able mathematicians, struggled when asked more ambiguous or ‘problem solving’ style questions. Since this was to be the content of questions in the new GSCE, more focus was required to ensure students were well prepared.
The method | Staff regularly used a variety of problem solving activities in lessons and shared their resources. These included the ‘White Rose’ differentiated questions, nrich, 1000problems and Median by Don Steward. They also encouraged problem solving outside of the classroom by promoting entry into the weekly puzzle from puzzleoftheweek.com. The school regularly featured in the top 40 schools worldwide for weekly puzzles.
The impact | Student confidence increased through regular focus on problem solving methods in class, as well as their verbal explanations. Students liked that they were not just doing the same skill ten times and enjoyed the variety of moving from a topic on number, to an area problem, to a problem that could be solved using algebra.
Contact | Victoria Baker firstname.lastname@example.org