We are delighted to be working with Casio to develop a series of five new lessons for use with students in Year 7 to support the development of effective calculator use across the maths curriculum. With the understandable decline of calculator use in primary schools, many students will arrive in Year 7 with little or no experience of using calculators.
Further information about the lesson plans is available on our new Year 7 lesson plans web page. The first three lessons in this series will be released in May. They explore the use of calculators to support understanding in the contexts of area and perimeter, angles and fractions.
Central to MEI’s work is the aim to make effective use of technology to support and deepen understanding of key concepts, allowing students to make links between different areas of maths and therefore support their ability to think and reason mathematically. These lessons aim to help students to become familiar with key features of scientific calculators whilst also deepening their understanding of some important concepts within the maths curriculum.
Each lesson plan will be accompanied by a PowerPoint for use in teaching. We will also provide versions of the PowerPoint with voice-over which, given the current situation, could be used if you are working with students learning at home. The lesson appendices contain all the printable resources needed.
The aim of the lessons is to ensure that students make effective use of calculators across the maths curriculum. With that in mind, these lessons can be used in many ways: as part of a transition project with students as they arrive in Year 7 or spread through the year and fitting in with the sequence of learning the students follow.
The lessons feature activities designed to promote talk and the accurate use of mathematical language, as well as activities to encourage students to think, reason and explain their working. Where appropriate, talk prompts such as stem sentences are included.
Stem sentences – sentences which support students in making accurate use of mathematical language and supporting the development of generalisations – feature in the lessons which have been designed in line with the principles of teaching for mastery. As such, coherent links are made to other areas of learning, representations are suggested in the plans, fluency with facts and procedures is encouraged, and variation theory is acknowledged in the activities. Further information and support for schools wanting to explore teaching for mastery in secondary schools can be found in the NCETMs Secondary Mastery PD materials, which aim to support departments in developing this approach.
The Year 7 ‘Get Calculating’ lessons also allow students to explore the features of the scientific calculators with which they need to become familiar as they move into secondary schools.
The slide above is taken from the lesson ‘Divide and Conquer’ which aims to make the link between fractions and division using the context of sharing biscuits. Students are encouraged to solve the problems practically in the first place and then to see the relationship between numbers in the problem and the numerator and denominator of the fractions created.
We hope that you will find the lessons engaging and useful. We would welcome your feedback - please contact Alison Hopper with any questions or comments.