Meaningful Learning with Maths Enrichment Classes

Meaningful Learning with Maths Enrichment Classes

Taking a Step Away from Rote Learning with Meaningful Maths Enrichment

Engage advanced learners with maths enrichment classes that challenge them and deepen their thinking skills. Activities in these classes that deliver rich maths experiences by changing fast learners' thinking from "I'm finished" with "I'm still thinking". Meaningful learning in maths enrichment classes prizes problem-solving skills and thinking about ways to solve a question over rote learning by memorising steps and formulas. The aim in maths enrichment class is to help advanced learners think beyond the syllabus by applying concepts.

With the changes in the school curriculum, how your child learns and the enrichment classes that support new ways of learning need to reflect it. Let's explore what maths enrichment classes that encourage meaningful learning looks like.

What Maths Enrichment is not about

1. Giving advanced learners more of the same work

Enrichment work should never feel like a drill or rote learning. Giving them yet another worksheet drill on the same concept will only keep their head down next time they finish early. It does not further their understanding or challenge them.

2. Giving advanced learners difficult tasks

Enrichment work should never feel like a drill or rote learning. Giving them yet another worksheet drill on the same concept will only keep their head down next time they finish early. It does not further their understanding or challenge them.

Enrichment involves coming up with more challenging tasks, but not necessarily

  • Unfamiliar concepts that have not been formally introduced
  • Deliberately creating tasks students cannot complete
  • Automatically giving students work from a higher-grade level

Such initiatives do work, but they should not be the first option. Advanced learners should feel encouraged to finish a challenging activity after being equipped with the concepts and skills to tackle them.

3.Giving advanced learners less support

Enrichment learners tend to need more independent maths activities, but that does not mean that they should be left to their own devices. They still need strong support from a teacher to stay engaged.

Now that we've outlined what maths enrichment should not be for your child, let's learn what maths enrichment that supports meaningful learning is all about.

Maths Enrichment is about...

1. Metacognitive number talks

Give advanced learners some time to think and construct creative responses and the importance of doing maths thoughtfully.

Mathematics is not only about being fast with facts. When faced with an unfamiliar problem, students can consider different "thinking moves". What this means is that advanced learners are encouraged to "think about thinking" by using number talks. This develops their metacognitive ability by engaging students to reflect on how they would approach a maths question rather than just doing it automatically. This boosts meaningful learning over rote learning in the classroom by asking open-ended Maths discussion questions, such as:

  • How many ways could be used to solve this problem?
  • Why did you choose to approach it that way?
  • Which parts gave you the clue that this is a "Fibonacci" problem?
  • Try a different method.

2. Modelling it first, then developing strategies

It would be a tricky process for students who are used to doing maths without reflection, so model it first. Previous lessons and notes are used as journal entries for each problem they have attempted to scaffold structure learning. When reflecting on their own mathematical thinking details when used in tandem with regular class discussions, helps to boost their metacognitive ability.

Reflecting could look something like these:

  • What strategy did I adopt for solving it?
  • What worked?
  • How did I find the answer?
  • How did I check the answer to be sure it was correct?

Over time, students will develop their own strategies for reflecting on their thinking, which they will be able to put into practice when faced with new problems.

3. Open-ended problems

An open-ended problem that has more than a single right answer, encourages diversity, creativity, and flexibility. Such thinking skills would be required when faced with real-world maths problems that have many potential solutions. Tackling open-ended problems by doing number talks and reflection, help to boost their problem-solving skills for such questions.

4. Collaborative problem-solving

Two brains are better than one - which is why collaboration helps students to learn new ways of solving a question from one another. Students are enriched when they discuss their mathematical knowledge in a class environment, especially dealing with open-ended problems. By clarifying questions, testing their ideas, and exploring multiple approaches to a common problem, it opens up new ideas.

Less confident students will benefit from seeing and hearing how others go about solving the problem, and high achievers will be encouraged to explain their thinking to the rest of the group while reinforcing the knowledge.

5. Authentic maths activities

Apply maths knowledge in engaging and relevant ways by showing real-life situations. This will clue them into where their Maths skills might take them. Seeing how maths is actually applied in these authentic contexts will help students understand that maths isn't abstract. It's a vital part of the world in which they live.

Everyone benefits from maths enrichment...including Advanced Learners

The maths wunderkinds might be the first to dive in Maths questions with gusto. But they won't be the only ones to reap the benefits. With effective enrichment, it deepens the understanding of every student. Whether they are high achievers or need a bit more time, every student of any skill level can benefit from maths enrichment.

With maths enrichment focusing on problem-solving skills and providing the right guidance, advanced learners can expand beyond their skillset. Plus by learning in a classroom environment, they learn new ways of thinking or help other students and this reinforces their capabilities.

Looking for maths enrichment classes for your child? Reach out to Terry Chew Academy today to learn which Math Olympiad course is suitable.

How TCA will help?

At Terry Chew Academy, our teachers are well-trained and they are masters of the Maths Olympiad language. They can equip you with the tools you need to unleash your fullest potential and become a Maths Olympian.

TCA Maths Olympiad training is never dull because you get to interact and train along with your friends and peers who are as driven as you are to be a Maths Olympian. Come join us for an excitement to keep the competitive spirit up and fuel your maths passion.

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