Monday, 1 February 2016

What can you do with maths? (What's Your Angle Pythagoras?)

What can you do with maths?

Throughout the year, we have been dispelling some preconceived ideas about what mathematical thinking is about.

My ultimate goal with each of my students is to help them enjoy mathematical thinking and to see it positively.

We have explored how mathematical thinking is:

° creative thinking
° creating own theories to prove or disprove 
° disproving our own theories is equally great as is proving our own theories
° visual thinking
° looking for patterns 
° looking for connections
° is a blend of conceptual understanding mixed in with some skills

Today, I wanted us to discover how maths is also about playing, being curious and acting upon our curiosity.

To help gain this understanding, we read this book together:

It's a lovely story imagining Pythagoras as a boy being curious about maths around him and eventually discovering his famous theorem. We didn't focus too much on the theorem (though it did arouse some interesting discussion) as I wanted the focus more to be about what he did with maths and how we too can do similar things as him. 

After reading, we had the following question to reflect upon:

What does this story make you think about what you can do with maths?

We shared our reflections with our table partners and then as a whole class.

Some of our thoughts about what we can do with maths included:

° the possibilities of what we can do with maths is endless.

° can play around with shapes and numbers and try to discover connections that I haven't found yet.

° we can imagine

° play around with numbers

° can find solutions to real life situations

° Though there have already been so many discoveries, there are still more out there to discover.

° You can use simple objects to help find a complicated answer to a number related question in real life situations. 

One of my favourites was:

° You don't have to be an adult or a wise person to make a mathematical discovery. 


  1. It's a great goal, Graeme - to have students enjoy mathematical thinking and see it positively! And using a book like this is a great way to go about it!

    1. Making it my mantra this year Simon. Thinking if we enjoy we learn. Standards-shmandards! Let children enjoy maths and feel confident in playing with it. We have calculators in our pockets 24-7 and that would have been a bizarre thought when we were at school. What will these children have when they are adults? :)


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