A blog about teaching and learning in a maths classroom.

Guessing to learn

Wednesday, 09 December 2009 | 1 Comment

This week, my Year 8s have been looking at inequality signs, graphing inequalities and solving simple (one-step) inequalities. Today, after solving inequalities, we played a simple game. A simple, obvious game, that really doesn’t warrant a blog post.

I asked them to write on a piece of paper the number that I was thinking of, and I used the language of inequalities to give them a range. e.g. the number is greater than 3 and less than 11, the number is greater than or equal to -27 and less than or equal to -20.

This simple game, which I intended to be a little fun and a way to win a lolly, was actually insightful. Mainly, because they had to interpret my verbal clues, I didn’t write anything down. Even more interesting was the struggle for a couple of students with negative numbers – a couple of times, students wrote down an answer that was outside the range. That is, for the example above, they may have written -28.

This is the challenge I keep facing in my classroom… “prior knowledge” keeps getting lost or was never truly achieved.

An extension to the idea – get the kids to give the clues.

Posted in • GameLesson IdeaNumberReflection | Short URL:


e neyland on  10 December 09  at  02:35 AM #
I really enjoy reading your blog. All of the activities are very imaginative and I think your students are really lucky to have you as their teacher! Keep up the cutting edge lesson ideas! 😊

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Simon Job — eleventh year of teaching maths in a public high school in Western Sydney, Australia.
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