Today we decided to make videos of calculations using various rods. I wanted to do this as a means for reflecting on what we have been doing, an opportunity to articulate and communicate mathematical ideas, as well as allowing children a chance to have fun and express themselves creatively in a maths lesson, perhaps altering their view of what doing mathematics is about.
The children worked in groups of three, going off to different places around the school. It was interesting that one of the groups found the freedom difficult to cope with at first, but I felt it was important for them to have the chance to manage this. Here are some other things I noticed as they worked:
- One of the children worked on times tables in yellows (base five) in preparation for her a video. Just watching her preparing was worthy of a video in itself, we likened it to watching an animal in their natural habitat.
- There were videos that were admirable for their simplicity, and ones that were enjoyable for their complexity. The creator of the second video said that her explanation could have gone better; I wonder if she thinks about during the week?
- I loved the creativity of the videos, particularly this one showing 5 3 - 2 4 (in blacks) which involves happy and sad rods, and the angel of death! There are no two videos which are alike.
- Many of the videos were very clear, such as this one, whilst some may have benefited from further clarity. Next week we are going to watch the videos as a class, discuss what might make mathematical explanation more clear, and perhaps re-film them.
It was very important to me not to interfere with the making of the videos. I was excited to see what they would create on their own, I was looking forward to being surprised. I increasingly feel that an important element of mathematical tasks and activity is the potential for learners to do something surprising, which is connected to having opportunities to create (whether this is examples, problems, or some artefact).