How Have You Been Creative In The Classroom?
I believe that being creative in the classroom brings maths to life and makes the teaching fun for both the teacher and the students. In my maths lessons, I’ve played various roles from a football manager to an air traffic controller through to James Bond - being creative in the classroom certainly aids in the learning process and helps the students recall a particular topic. This is further improved if the lesson teaches maths in a practical way. I tried this recently by taking my maths class in the school’s playground.
Now, the only thing I have in common with Tom Cruise is that we are the same height. But that did not stop me using Mission Impossible as a theme for my Year 10 class. I was teaching the class the topic of loci. In the classroom the students were creating beautiful drawings of bisectors and other equidistant loci. I wanted to cement the learning in a more creative way. So, for the next lesson, after registering the class, I took the class outside to the school’s playground, where with the clever use of some equipment from the sports department, I had created a maze.
I told the class that they were all secret agents. They had been captured and placed in a room in the middle of the maze. Their mission (should they wish to accept it) was, by working in pairs, to escape from the room and the maze. I told the class that they had to imagine the playground was electrified and covered in sensors, but there was a safe path. If they strayed from the path, an alarm (my whistle) would sound and they would be discovered and recaptured and would have to restart.
I gave each pair of students instructions describing the safe path through the maze based on the learning that we had done in class. After a shaky start, the students gradually became fully engaged with the task and began to have fun, as well as being competitive with their classmates, and all without their realising that they were learning.
Being creative in the classroom does not necessarily mean that you have to stay in the classroom. Maths can and should be taught anywhere and not be confined just to the classroom. Maths is everywhere so consider taking the students to those places where the maths learning can be fun. My students still talk about the maze and that they have a crazy maths teacher.
By Kevin Mauldridge