Third year students on the BA Primary Education with QTS course at Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU) visited Monks Abbey Primary School where they used a variety of exciting challenges to help two Year 4 classes engage with maths.
The BGU students are part of a mathematics subject leadership group and visit Monks Abbey every year to support pupils and increase interest in the subject. As part of their efforts they led the children through 21 'Crystal Maze' style mental challenges focusing on number and shape. These included identifying numbers in Ancient Egyptian script, making tangram pictures, completing a pentomino puzzle of Bengali numbers, putting numbers in a magic square and working out how to move all the discs to create the Tower of Brahma. Each student worked with two or three children, prompting them with questions to support their thinking.
Dr Ashley Compton, Senior Lecturer in Primary at BGU, described the benefits these sessions could offer to both the school pupils and BGU’s students:
“Students from BAPE have been going to Monks Abbey for the past ten years to lead this activity and the school are always eager to have us back. Every year the children have ended the session excited about problem solving in mathematics and it helps broaden their understanding of what mathematics can include.
Our students meanwhile are able to gain experience in how different children respond to a range of problem solving activities as well as being able to refine their questioning skills. As potential mathematics subject leaders it lets them see the potential for organising special events which can help raise the profile of mathematics in school and increase a positive attitude toward the subject.”