Maths Conference - #Mathsconf13
Rob Smith (@RJS2212) deserves a special thanks as well for his dedication to selling raffle tickets and also the amazing tuck shop!
The conference raised a £2000 for Macmillan Cancer today, thanks to the donations of all attendees and a significant donation to round the sum up by Mark.
400 maths teachers gathered on a Saturday morning ready for the maths conference to begin. As usual you could feel the excitement in the room. This time though there was a palpable buzz as people waited for Matt Parker (@Standupmaths) to take the stage.
Mathsconf13 - The Beginning
Mark McCourt and Andrew Taylor (@AQAMaths) opened the conference in the usual style with Andrew talking us through what this summer's Maths GCSE results looked like for post 16 entrants. Theses results appeared to be very similar to previous years. He was positive but curious about why about several post 16 entrants chose to sit the now 9-1 GCSE instead of the old A*- G GCSE when they didn't have to.
Andrew had the pleasure of introducing Matt Parker to the stage. Matt Parker instantly had us smiling and laughing bright and early on a Saturday morning. He showed us that a picture is just a very large excel spreadsheet. This resources can be found here on his amazing website Think Maths alongside many other free maths resources. On here you can make any picture into a spreadsheet.
There are some amazing events and resources on offer from Matt Parker and his maths friends for schools. These include
Matt Parker was also kind enough to share one of his guilty pleasures with us. His guilty pleasure was the discovery last year of the largest prime number which is millions of digits long.
What made it him even geekier, which we all loved, was the fact he is the only person to have printed this number out and has it professionally bound. Many maths teachers were looking through this book all day.
As usual there were far too many different choice to choose from and I wish I could have attended all of the maths workshops at mathsconf13.
Developing Resilient and Confident Mathematicians - Sarah Chamings
Sarah instantly put us out of our comfort zones by giving us all a maths degree question on graph theory to complete in silence. Throughout the session Sarah modelling what attending a maths lesson could feel like for a student both the good and the bad. The main takeaway from this lesson was to praise the mathematical processes, thinking and displays of independence over your praise of the maths answer.
I loved seeing Sarah bring up the discussion negative images of mathematics in the media and with parents. As many people will know numeracy across the curriculum and building a positive mathematical culture is an area I am interested in and have written a book about. Sarah reinforced the message that 'I can't do maths' should be banned. A great suggestion from Sarah was instead of staff having 'this week I am reading' on their classroom doors, for them to alternate with 'this week I am solving…'.
Richard Skemp: Relational Understanding & Instructional Understanding - Gordon Brough
This session got us to really think about ways in which we teach different maths topics. For example how do you teach multiplying 2 digit numbers, adding and subtracting fractions or solving equations? Is there a point when students aren't understanding relational concepts that we should then move to instructional ideas. A lot of teachers around the room discussed that the instructional ideas creep into teaching in the later years of secondary when time is running short before the GCSE maths examinations. Is this okay? Should this happen? It was a very deep conversation and one with lots of after considerations for me to ponder.
Patterns, Primes and Purposeful Practise - Jonathan Hall
Wow, I shocked to find out afterwards this was Jonathans first time presenting. The audience was engaged from the beginning wiht all of the amazing things that his maths bot website can do. This maths website has differentiated maths questions for teachers on lots of topics and random exam question generators.However we got to two explore the really special section of his site.
The first being the manipulative section which includes interactive algebra tiles, cuisenaire rods and algebra tiles. The activities section is based around a lot of Don Steward ideas. Under the activities tab there are a lot of rich maths tasks such as: fractions walls, shaded regions and four operations puzzle. I really loved the Caos Game which made well … nope you're not getting any spoilers from me. Go to his site and play it!
Spaced Learning and Low Stakes Quizzing - Danielle Bartram (That's me)
Yes I attended my own session, although there were several on in the same slot that I would have loved to attend. My session looked at ways in which you can easily embed low stakes quizzing and assessment within your lessons to have maximum impact. Spaced learning is a term that has been used across the education sector in recent years. The session will look at the impact potential of spaced learning and how you can easily apply this within your own practice and not increase your workload.
My aim was for everyone to leave this enthused, excited and with at least one new idea to try.
Thank you to those who attended and have given me some lovely feedback already. I love meeting new people and getting to interact with people behind the twitter accounts and teachers from across the country.
My after session PDF can be found here.
I am finally at the point where my book "Forty Pence Each or Two for One Pound" is now in the hands of the reviewers and should be out near the end of October. You can pre-ordered it with a price guarantee on amazon. Click here to find out more.
My advice to future presenters:
If your computer only has a HDMI connection point or you use an apple mac, buy yourself an adapter to VGA. Most conference venues still only provide a VGA connector. These can be picked up relatively cheaply from amazon.
Mathsconf13 The End
It was lovely to catch up with lots of amazing people today.
Danielle (@PixiMaths) was the first to cut into a maths cake. Although I think she made need cake cutting lessons.
Chris Smith (@Aap03102) even made an appearance on one of the display posters.
There are far too many people to mention of who I met and bumped into at yesterday, but it was a pleasure to meet you all and speak with old friends. Mathsconf always reminds me of how many positive and hardworking maths teachers there are. We are not alone. If you have never been to a a mathsconf before you really should come.
The winning number for Jo's lowest integer competition at this conference was 8. This was ran as an event within the lunch time maths tweet up. Lots of fun maths activities happen in the lunch time maths tweet up and there are always some mathematical pringles and QR cubes.
The winning maths cake was
Corbett Maths (@Corbettmaths) was here selling his maths revision postcards too.
Thank you for another amazing event La Salle and the complete maths team. I can't wait for the next one in Kettering.