A blog about teaching and learning in a maths classroom.

Tell me about maths…

Thursday, 31 January 2008 | 1 Comment

In the first lesson with each of my classes, I gave them a chance to let me know how they felt about maths.  I hope this conveyed to my students that I am interested in what they like about maths and what they find difficult, it also gives me a basis for creating activities and future reflection to see what we’ve achieved.

I used three questions, found in the post Nine questions I ask my students on the first day of school by Elona Hartjes:

  • What do you like about maths?
  • When is maths easy or fun for you?
  • When is maths difficult for you?

Below is the sheet I handed out.

This was in no way a scientific study, so the graphs below just give a feel for the response from my two Year 7 classes.

The first graph is based on the answers to the first two questions above.


Not sure whether I prompted this large positive response to games by mentioning them before we did the survey, but it’s great that they are already keen to learn maths through games.

The second graph shows the answers for “when is maths difficult for you?”


There was nothing surprising about the difficulties, I was already planning to use games and other techniques to improve/reinforce their times tables skills (which is probably why they also find division difficult).  There were heaps of “other responses”.  One student noted that he found Simpson’s Rule difficult – I should imagine so given that it’s a Year 11 topic, not a Year 6 topic.  I wonder which “Simpson’s Rule” he meant?  Maybe he had a past teacher named Simpson…

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License (?).

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Elona Hartjes on  31 January 08  at  11:21 AM #
Simon, When I’ve asked my grade 9 students the same questions, I get similar results. Tomorrow the new semester begins so I guess I should be saying “Let the math games begin”.

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