Kate Halpin
Curriculum Manager  Mathematics
Improving student participation and understanding in Mathematics through increased use of student problem setting and solving
Background:
 One group of A level Mathematics students

I wanted to move away from a predominantly deductive teaching style.

I also wanted to encourage students to hone the appropriate thinking skills for mathematics to enhance enjoyment and understanding.
Key Actions:

For each of the activities a clear description of the task was given a day or two in advance.

Students were to set a question on the given topic, solve it carefully, respecting the notation and language of Maths to make sure it was “solvable” with the methods and techniques they were learning.

In class the next day (or 2 later) they would be matched randomly with another student. Pairs would then swap their prepared questions and solve them.

The pairs would then check each other’s solution and comment on them. I obtained feedback via two questionnaires
Key Findings:
 Decision mathematics problems were easiest to set and students found them enjoyable.

Pure mathematics problem setting and solving had varying success and enjoyment, but led to opportunities to discuss the language of mathematics.

Setting and solving problems improved as the year progressed.
 During these activities students were animated and enjoyed them for the most part.
 Both questionnaires indicate that students felt positive about the activities and felt that they helped to consolidate their understanding.
 Opportunities arose during the activities to discuss the use of the language of mathematics.
Click here to download full article
Contact: khalpin@farnboroughsfc.ac.uk