Exploring an innovative approach to teaching mathematics through the use of challenging tasks

a New Zealand perspective

Naomi Ingram, Marilyn Holmes, Chris Linsell, Sharyn Livy, Melody McCormick, Peter Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This paper reports on a New Zealand iteration of the Encouraging Persistence, Maintaining Challenge (EPMC) project, which proposes that students learn mathematics best when they build connections between mathematical ideas for themselves. This iteration explores the actions, perceptions and learning of 12 primary teachers and their 281 students during the implementation of a set of challenging tasks related to geometric reasoning. The teachers launched the suggested tasks, ensuring that the challenge was maintained. The students explored these tasks with minimal input from the teacher, and learning was summarised and extended. The teachers were positive about the intervention. The challenging task approach enabled students’ thinking became visible and, at times, the teachers’ prior perceptions of their students’ ability were challenged. A highly significant difference between the students’ pre- and post-assessment scores was found. The students were supported to have autonomy in their learning and make mathematical connections themselves. The students became less reliant on their teachers’ help and were positive about their involvement in the project.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages26
JournalMathematics Education Research Journal
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jun 2019

Keywords

  • Challenging tasks
  • Confusion
  • Geometry
  • Lesson structure
  • Mathematics
  • Persistence

Cite this

@article{36e05919f3c2444fb1d799e0803cbdb5,
title = "Exploring an innovative approach to teaching mathematics through the use of challenging tasks: a New Zealand perspective",
abstract = "This paper reports on a New Zealand iteration of the Encouraging Persistence, Maintaining Challenge (EPMC) project, which proposes that students learn mathematics best when they build connections between mathematical ideas for themselves. This iteration explores the actions, perceptions and learning of 12 primary teachers and their 281 students during the implementation of a set of challenging tasks related to geometric reasoning. The teachers launched the suggested tasks, ensuring that the challenge was maintained. The students explored these tasks with minimal input from the teacher, and learning was summarised and extended. The teachers were positive about the intervention. The challenging task approach enabled students’ thinking became visible and, at times, the teachers’ prior perceptions of their students’ ability were challenged. A highly significant difference between the students’ pre- and post-assessment scores was found. The students were supported to have autonomy in their learning and make mathematical connections themselves. The students became less reliant on their teachers’ help and were positive about their involvement in the project.",
keywords = "Challenging tasks, Confusion, Geometry, Lesson structure, Mathematics, Persistence",
author = "Naomi Ingram and Marilyn Holmes and Chris Linsell and Sharyn Livy and Melody McCormick and Peter Sullivan",
year = "2019",
month = "6",
doi = "10.1007/s13394-019-00266-1",
language = "English",
journal = "Mathematics Education Research Journal",
issn = "1033-2170",
publisher = "Springer",

}

Exploring an innovative approach to teaching mathematics through the use of challenging tasks : a New Zealand perspective. / Ingram, Naomi; Holmes, Marilyn; Linsell, Chris; Livy, Sharyn; McCormick, Melody; Sullivan, Peter.

In: Mathematics Education Research Journal, 06.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Exploring an innovative approach to teaching mathematics through the use of challenging tasks

T2 - a New Zealand perspective

AU - Ingram, Naomi

AU - Holmes, Marilyn

AU - Linsell, Chris

AU - Livy, Sharyn

AU - McCormick, Melody

AU - Sullivan, Peter

PY - 2019/6

Y1 - 2019/6

N2 - This paper reports on a New Zealand iteration of the Encouraging Persistence, Maintaining Challenge (EPMC) project, which proposes that students learn mathematics best when they build connections between mathematical ideas for themselves. This iteration explores the actions, perceptions and learning of 12 primary teachers and their 281 students during the implementation of a set of challenging tasks related to geometric reasoning. The teachers launched the suggested tasks, ensuring that the challenge was maintained. The students explored these tasks with minimal input from the teacher, and learning was summarised and extended. The teachers were positive about the intervention. The challenging task approach enabled students’ thinking became visible and, at times, the teachers’ prior perceptions of their students’ ability were challenged. A highly significant difference between the students’ pre- and post-assessment scores was found. The students were supported to have autonomy in their learning and make mathematical connections themselves. The students became less reliant on their teachers’ help and were positive about their involvement in the project.

AB - This paper reports on a New Zealand iteration of the Encouraging Persistence, Maintaining Challenge (EPMC) project, which proposes that students learn mathematics best when they build connections between mathematical ideas for themselves. This iteration explores the actions, perceptions and learning of 12 primary teachers and their 281 students during the implementation of a set of challenging tasks related to geometric reasoning. The teachers launched the suggested tasks, ensuring that the challenge was maintained. The students explored these tasks with minimal input from the teacher, and learning was summarised and extended. The teachers were positive about the intervention. The challenging task approach enabled students’ thinking became visible and, at times, the teachers’ prior perceptions of their students’ ability were challenged. A highly significant difference between the students’ pre- and post-assessment scores was found. The students were supported to have autonomy in their learning and make mathematical connections themselves. The students became less reliant on their teachers’ help and were positive about their involvement in the project.

KW - Challenging tasks

KW - Confusion

KW - Geometry

KW - Lesson structure

KW - Mathematics

KW - Persistence

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85067386564&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/s13394-019-00266-1

DO - 10.1007/s13394-019-00266-1

M3 - Article

JO - Mathematics Education Research Journal

JF - Mathematics Education Research Journal

SN - 1033-2170

ER -