This unit considers how the processes of inquiry based learning may be integrated into the teaching of Mathematics and Science content. Often, these two aspects of learning are kept separate: we teach content as a collection of facts and skills to be imitated and mastered, and/or we teach process skills through investigations that do not develop incorporate important content knowledge. The integration of content and process raises many pedagogical challenges.
The processes under consideration here are: observing and visualising, classifying and creating definitions, making representations and translating between them, finding connections and relationships, estimating, measuring and quantifying, evaluating, experimenting and controlling variables. As some have pointed out, these are developments of natural human powers that we employ from birth (Millar, 1994). To some extent, we use them unconsciously all the time. When these powers are harnessed and developed by teachers to help students understand the concepts of mathematics and science, students become much more engaged and involved in their learning.
This unit has many activities within it - too many for one session. It is suggested that this unit is used as a menu, from which professional development providers can choose. It is however, important that participants are given an opportunity to try out some of these activities in their lessons and to report back on the outcomes.
About this Module
This module has been compiled for PRIMAS from professional development materials developed by the Shell Centre team at the Centre for Research in Mathematics Education, University of Nottingham. Many of these materials were originally written for two projects:
- Bowland Maths is a project aimed at developing the key processes involved in mathematical problem solving, using a range of realistic and fantasy scenarios. This was funded by the Bowland Charitable Trust.
- Improving Learning in Mathematics is a project aimed at developing the understanding of mathematical concepts. This was originally funded by the Department for Education and Skills Standards Unit.
Download the print materials (links on the left) and read the main Module Guide.
Use the tabs at the top of the screen to browse the software and video which accompanies this module. (Requires Adobe Flash Player).
If you need to install the software on students' machines, without the PD material, use the links on the bottom left to choose the appropriate version.