The Not Just Sums resources have all been developed with the following educational principles and ideas in mind:
It is generally accepted that students learn better in lessons that are split into distinct "chunks" such as the three part structure of start task, main activity and plenary. Resources provided for each topic in the Not Just Sums scheme of work make this three part structure easy to plan, as well as making lessons varied and interesting for students. Each of the main topic worksheets is itself split into many separate activities to stimulate learning throughout the lesson. A relevant start task is also included at the start of each worksheet. For a different type of start task or plenary activity, the resource packs contain many other options such as the interactive tools - which can be used to produce a task to display on an interactive whiteboard in seconds - or the group activities, puzzles and games included to complement learning.
For each new topic, a student goes through the following stages of learning:
Connection This is when a connection is made between what the student already knows and what they are about to learn. The Not Just Sums resources are designed to allow connections to be made easily by students, including the use of start tasks that connect to prior knowledge, learning objectives described in student-friendly language to allow students to build a learning framework and a variety of activities and questions that allow bridges to be made between various topics. Real life problems and contexts are also included to allow students to connect their learning to their external environment and other curriculum subjects.
Activation This is when new ideas are introduced, discussed and investigated. The Not Just Sums resource packs provide different tools to help activate learning - either through the students' own investigations or through whole class teaching. New topics can be introduced with the back up of the comprehensive presentations provided, using interactive elements or with group activities that allow students to build up an understanding of new material together.
Demonstration This is when students show that they can use what they have learnt in a new topic. There are ample opportunities for students to demonstrate their learning within the resource packs. Primarily, the worksheets can be used to structure a lesson so that students can make connections at the start of a lesson and proceed to demonstrate what they have learnt later on. Any of the extra activities provided can also be used in this phase of learning, providing variety and interest in the classroom.
Consolidation This is when new skills are practised until they are thoroughly understood by the student. Each topic in the Not Just Sums scheme of work is provided with a wealth of consolidation opportunities. In particular, the presentations can be used for individual students to recap learning in their own time, and the practice sheets contain hundreds of questions for students to tackle in order to build their confidence and fluency with each topic.
Research has shown that students learn better when the following assessment for learning principles are included:
Self and Peer Assessment - allowing students to assess their own and each other's work and use this as a basis for reflection and target-setting.
Objective Led Learning - sharing the learning objectives with students and using this to structure students' long term learning.
Questioning - asking relevant and thought-provoking questions of students to allow deep understanding of new topics met.
In designing the Not Just Sums scheme of work, all of the above AfL principles have been considered and embedded into the resources. The main worksheets are structured in such a way that objectives, opportunities for self assessment and suitable questions are built into every topic met. The group activities provide a variety of peer assessment opportunities and the entire scheme of work is explicitly built around the learning objectives required.
Not Just Sums resources can be used to replace or work alongside your existing scheme of work. In either case, the depth and variety of the resources included make it easy to plan outstanding lessons with engaging activities, without spending hours on each lesson plan. This will improve students' long term learning, as well as aiding classroom management and making your life as a mathematics teacher easier.
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