Active Learning At The Heart Of Mathematics

2582 Words May 6th, 2015 11 Pages
ACTIVE LEARNING in practice for Processes in Mathematics in the Primary School.
Frank Quinn
Module MCS 3017
8th December 2014

Cockcroft (1982) states that problem-solving ability lies “at the heart of mathematics” (p.73). The report also identifies in Para 243 the importance of offering the opportunity to pupils to engage in problem-solving including the application to everyday situations. This has been further promoted through the importance of the Cross Curricular Skills of the Revised Northern Ireland Curriculum which promotes using mathematics, using communication and using information and communications technologies (uICT). The curriculum experience also requires the development of each pupil in the domains of thinking skills and
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Problem solving stems from a constructivist approach where the children are required to construct and contextualise their learning around different experiences rather than simply absorb the knowledge and move onto the next topic. The majority of problems have more than one way of achieving the solution so therefore they can be approached in a variety of ways. Due to the freedom of approach, problems can be attempted individually or through peer learning. This active learning approach can make the learning, and the teaching, more enjoyable, whilst create an environment for greater cross-curricular learning and understanding whilst promoting a positive attitude toward numeracy and creativity.
Problem solving in mathematics provides a window for the teacher to obtain a view of the child’s understanding of concepts within mathematics as they move through the childhood concept development sequence (Charlesworth et al, 2011). The assessment of this information can be gained through observing the child or using effective questions to draw out the child’s cognitive creative thinking as they develop the solutions for the problem. In the Foundation stage, children discover problems through play-based activities, for example, they use non-standard units of measurement such as blocks or Lego, to build a desired construct, thus they learn how to recognise and use informal measurement. As the child grows and develops they
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