Speed dating for maths

So we are getting to that time of the year with exam classes. There are only so many times you can do the same type of maths problem – we need to liven it up a bit! This lesson works for any level and any year but is very good for stressed out exam classes.

First you need to find some short questions, part (a)’s of the exam paper are ideal. Pick a topic you want the students to revise. Find enough questions to match the class in pairs – they should be similar questions.

Now pair everyone up – set the tables up so they are long and everyone is facing each other. Give each pair 1 to 2 minutes max. Of the pair one person explains the problem/how to solve it in their own words. The other is the “learner”, encourage these to ask questions and even correct the “teacher”. We learn best from others mistakes!

Use a stop watch – time is pressure! After the time is up make everyone get up and swap partners. “learners” should become “teachers” and visa-versa. Repeat the exercise at least 4 times.

This exercise works well for a variety of reasons. We have all now done the same problem 4 ways with 4 different people. We all see things differently, and explain it in a way we get. We only truly understand something when we explain it to others. Each person has been given the insight of everyone else in the group!

The lesson is very kinesthetic – we get to really experience maths, move round the table and interact with the problem in a practical way. We will always remember the questions we have done during this exercise. We will relate to the jokes, we always learn best when we enjoy the task…

It has made a revision class fun while still making time crucial. We learn how to work under pressure. Students often waste time getting the short easy questions done on the paper – Many find it simply hard to start.

You should expect a little of “you wana us to do what?” Just get the studnets to try something new. Change is always a good, as is being prepared to make a fool of yourself!