Bowland Maths and Teaching Teamwork Skills

I can’t praise the Bowland Maths resources enough.  These projects are Mathematically Rich and help pupils develop excellent skills of problem solving and team work.  I’ve used many of the activities before but this week I have been delivering the Highway Design project to my Year 9 group.

Due to a complete IT shutdown in school, pupils did all work in an old-school “by hand” way, although the Highway Design software is easy to learn and use.  Our academic year starts in June so this is a new class to me and I really wanted to focus on teaching them good teamwork skills.

Lesson One followed the lesson plan given in the teacher notes and had more PSHCE content than Mathematics (I have no issue with this if it helps pupils engage with the task).  I created role play cards (which I can’t upload because they’re stuck on an inaccessible school system – I will upload these in September) to help pupils focus their thinking and directed pupils to spend 10 mins individual reflection time listing the pros and cons of the bypass for their character.  I then gave each team the option of either carrying out a role-play debate or just introducing themselves and talking about their key issues with the road being built. At the end of the lesson each team drew up a list of their key priorities when building the road (some went for cost, others for environmental preservation etc)

Lessons Two to Four were spent with teams designing their bypass and creating a poster to be used as part of their presentation.  I assigned roles of Team Manager, Scribe, Chief Designer and Number Cruncher to focus pupils. I used this peer assessment sheet which I frequently use with classes so that they can assess each others teamwork skills and set targets for improvement.  I direct pupils to discuss each member in turn (the person being discussed listens in but cannot interject), they fill in the sheet.  In the following lesson I hand the sheets back and pupils re-read their target, which they should try to meet by the end of this lesson.  Again at the end the team assesses whether progress has been made towards the target.

Lesson Five is tomorrow and pupils will present their designs.  Each other group will score the presentation on: quality of presentation, suitability of road design and presentation content.

Additional Note:  I’ve just noticed that extra projects have been added to the Bowland collection online.  I shall be having a look over the holidays and seeing where I can give some a try…

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