Collaborative learning for pupils & its benefits

My name is Sumaya Ahmed and I am a Maths Scholar. Here are my thoughts about collaborative learning

Sumaya Ahmed

Collaborative learning for pupil’s entails justifying & giving reasoning to solutions, asking questions, creating discussions which involve explaining & challenging ideas. This may be done in a classroom through investigations & problem solving in groups, which creates more of an active atmosphere in the classroom, as opposed to only going through examples & methods for the success of completing questions. This can create further relational understanding within Mathematical concepts.

I taught a lesson on linear functions - plotting graphs to the Year 8’s, during the lesson pupils did a matching card activity in groups of 5, the cards had the following information: 

  • Straight Line graphs
  • Tables of x and y values  
  • Set of co-ordinates
  • Functions that link the x co-ordinates to the y co-ordinates (Equation of the line) 

linear functions - plotting graphs

The task was to fill in the missing gaps/graphs, this was so that the students were not able to complete the task using elimination strategies but would have to use their understanding and apply it to the problem. Pupils then matched the four pieces of information to illustrate a complete function story, they allocated themselves into different roles according to the given criteria on the board. Students were able to devise their own classifications for mathematical objects in this task by deciding the order of which card to fill in & how to match these.

The students also had the opportunity to go around & speak to other pupils about the strategies they had used as well as evaluate the task and give feedback to the class.


This increased confidence between pupils who would usually shy away to answer questions would now contribute in front of their peers. They were able to see the variety of ways to solve a problem. This can be established by group activities where different methods are presented at once, allowing the pupils to share different views with confidence and enables them to see that being able to do maths does not mean you have to be able to memorise and follow procedures for a specific solution. Collaborative orientation allows discussions where pupils are encouraged to challenge each other’s views and articulate reasoning’s as well as connect these ideas to much wider mathematical concepts & identify misconceptions.  


Swan, M (2006). Collaborative Learning in Mathematics: A Challenge to Our Beliefs and Practices, pg. 162-172.

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