Sunday, 22 January 2012

Numeracy Across the Curriculum (ASE conference session)

Can you name all the different types of graphs and charts? I will freely admit that can't do it without support.

Do all the different types of graphs and charts have the same names in maths and science? Are the geographers and other subject teachers using the same terminology? Is it only in graphs and charts that the terminology is different?

I have well and truly had my eyes opened regarding the importance on liaising with the maths department regarding the use of maths in science. Particularly as a physics teacher. The main issues are that ofsted are now looking for consistent teaching of numeracy across the curriculum and that maths and English grades are becoming more important so we need to all be teachers of those subjects within our own.

The ofsted framework says:
Outstanding: ‘Time is used well and every opportunity is taken to successfully develop crucial skills, including being able to use their literacy and numeracy skills in other subjects’
Good: ‘Teaching consistently deepens pupils’ knowledge and understanding and teaches them a range of skills including communication, reading and writing, and mathematics across the curriculum’
Satisfactory: ‘Communication skills including reading and writing, and mathematics may be taught inconsistently across the curriculum’

The session at the ASE conference focused on the barriers to teaching numeracy in science and the way that Worcestershire LA are trying to over come them. The barriers are below:

They are working on supporting schools in aligning their maths and science curricula so that skills are taught in maths lessons before being used in science. The presenter of the course did not describe how successful this was. I imagine it is very difficult to, but still a good idea.

Better than that though, the LA advisors a putting together a resource that contains presentations of how the numeracy used in science lessons is presented in maths lessons anyhow it might be different. These resources can be used in different ways, some rooms have a display on the wall that is added to as the concepts are encountered in science lessons and/or PowerPoint slides are displayed to students during the lesson when a specific skill is required. So far Worcestershire have created about 2/3 of the resources needed to cover the numeracy required in the science curriculum.

I think that this is a really nice idea. It helps to ensure consistency, helps students to make links between their lessons, and helps to boost the numeracy of the students in general.

I really enjoyed the session, thank you to Worcestershire LA for showing the work they have done.

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