Workshops - Primary

Theme: Big Ideas in Mathematics

P1 : Engaging Children in Big Ideas and Mathematical Processes

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Dr Cheng Lu Pien, Singapore

Abstract: This workshop will focus on using a range of activities to make some ideas central to the learning of mathematics explicit. Participants will engage in a variety of tasks that can be used in the primary mathematics classrooms to focus on big ideas and mathematical processes.

P2: What a ‘big ideas’ curriculum might look like

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Prof Chris Hurst, Australia

Abstract: The workshop will be very much a ‘hands-on’ experience for teachers. Participants will engage in ‘big idea thinking’ through the following:

  • Consider what the ‘big ideas’ of primary mathematics might be. We will look at some examples of what different people have suggested are ‘big ideas’ and/or ‘key understandings’.
  • They will be challenged to deconstruct their mathematical content knowledge of key concepts and identify the ‘micro-content’ that contributes to ‘big ideas’.
  • Consider an example of how one ‘big idea’ has been developed and whether it might form a template for inclusion in a curriculum.
  • Work in small groups to explore the development of one ‘big idea’.
  • P3: Interesting Lesson Ideas

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    Mdm Lim Li Gek Pearlyn, Singapore

    Abstract: In order to heighten students’ interest in mathematics, lessons need to be engaging. In this workshop, interesting lesson ideas will be shared. These include using magic tricks related to mathematics topics to start a lesson, using newspapers or drama to relate mathematics to real life and using the open-ended approach to encourage construction of knowledge by students.

    P4: Inquiry in a Japanese Math Classroom: Using Students’ Ideas to Develop a Curriculum

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    Ms Pauline Anne Therese M. Mangulabnan, Japan

    Abstract: In this workshop, we look at two exemplars of mathematics lesson design in a primary school in Japan. The designs incorporate cycles of inquiry and collaboration in the classroom. We take a closer look at how such lessons fit into a demanding curriculum, developing both students’ conceptual knowledge and procedural mathematical skills. In these classes, mathematics teachers wish to create a classroom environment which encourages fun in mathematics thinking and learning as a result of productive struggle, collaboration and carefully crafted hands-on tasks. Lastly, we follow through one of the exemplar’s teacher’s lesson-to-lesson reflection to design and re-design the mathematical unit, making use of students’ interests and ideas to achieve necessary mathematical skills.

    P5: Mathematical Modeling: A Big Idea in Mathematics in Primary Grades

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    Prof Padmanabhan Seshaiyer, USA

    Abstract: This workshop will engage participants to consider ways in which early introduction to mathematical modeling as a big idea in mathematics can promote 21st century skills such as critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication, as well as connect to interdisciplinary topics in STEM and community-based service learning. With a collective understanding of the interrelated processes of mathematical modeling in the elementary grades, teacher participants will learn to provide opportunities for students to acquire mathematical competencies and make connections between the real world and mathematics; learn to maintain the high cognitive demand of the mathematical modeling process; and learn to provide classroom management that is learner-centered.

    P6: Enhancing Mathematics Teaching with Big Ideas

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    Dr Cynthia Seto and Mr Choon Ming Kwang, Singapore

    Abstract: Organising the teaching of a topic around big ideas facilitates students to learn mathematics with deep understanding. Big ideas enhance both lesson and unit planning. They help teachers to focus on the “essence” of what they are teaching and issues of student learning. In this workshop, we will discuss three different types of big ideas: big ideas about content, big ideas about the domain and big ideas about quality learning. Participants will learn to use big ideas as a central focus in their teaching to enable students to see mathematics as a coherent and integrated whole, not merely isolated pieces of knowledge. They will work in groups to formulate big ideas in ways that reflect their pedagogical purposes. Constructing or framing big ideas to reflect one or more pedagogical purposes provide teachers with more fruitful directions for all aspects of their teaching.

    P7: No Fear of Letting the Genie Out

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    Mdm Teoh Kim Hong, Malaysia

    Abstract: Problem solving is important but does not lend itself easily to attain any specific learning of content in a lesson. A different approach is needed to focus on pockets of knowledge to be taught, practiced and understood. When various pockets of mathematical knowledge are connected, children are more likely to make sense, see patterns and be curious about the mathematical ideas. How can such approach and thinking be brought about in practice to support children’s learning? This sharing session will discuss about how to provide appropriate tasks that invite connections to be made. These tasks are likely to encourage questioning that lead to a discussion for understanding of an intended learning.

    P8: Developing the Big Ideas of Equivalence in Primary Mathematics

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    Dr Yeo Kai Kow Joseph, Singapore

    Abstract: Teachers who understand the big Ideas of mathematics translate that to their teaching practices by consistently connecting new ideas to big ideas and by reinforcing big ideas throughout teaching (Ma, 1999). When one understands big ideas, mathematics is no longer seen as a set of disconnected concepts, skills, and facts. Rather, mathematics becomes a coherent set of ideas. Equivalence is a big idea because representations that seem different can all be connected to the same underlying idea. Unless a teacher brings awareness of this big idea, the curriculum document is unlikely to engage teachers and, consequently, learners with the big idea of equivalence. The speaker will share with teachers why equivalence is a big idea and examples will be shown. This workshop will also discuss different activities that teachers might trial in their mathematics lessons to enable pupils to explore equivalences leading to not only an informal understanding of equivalence, but also to using the equivalence to seek out effective and efficient calculation strategies.

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