It is all well and good for children to learn the skills and theory taught in maths, however if they do not know how to apply it, how can they use it in the future?
It is important that we consider the needs of all children within our lessons. Children with ASD tend to have difficulty in applying skills learnt to real life contexts and therefore we must approach this issue and give them the opportunity to link theory with reality. One approach for this is by taking children out of the classroom.
The specific example above shows an approach for taking a class of year 5 children to an airport with a specific focus on the measurement strand within the primary maths curriculum, although there are many cross-curricular links available to other subjects.
From just one setting there are many possibilities that will engage and motivate but also assist children in their learning. This will not just benefit the children cognitively but also socially and emotionally, with many of them increasing their confidence when in public places. We are encouraging children to think and reflect, being conscientious about their work and others.
TARGET: To continue looking at different approaches of encouraging children to apply theory learnt with reality.
Tuesday 28th June saw a fun filled day all based on Space at Morland Area C of E Primary School.
Being a teaching assistant at the school, I expected to just be helping one of the teachers with their activities. However I was soon volunteered by one of the teachers (who knew about my science specialism) to lead one of the sessions.
The day ran as a carousel with the children split into the three houses. There were three different sessions run by the teachers as well as an hour spent at the pop up Planetarium which visited the school. Each session lasted 1 hour and the groups of children were of mixed age (5-11 years). I took this in to account and when planning the activities I ensured that all children would benefit from effective teaching.
My session was based on the phases of the moon. I started by asking the children if they had seen the moon the night before. I then asked them what shape it was and if they could describe any other shapes that they had seen the moon before. Having done this, I asked the children if they knew why the moon changed shape. They were not aware of why and so I showed them a rap that taught the children the different phases of the moon as well as how this happens. The rap reinforced my teaching and enabled me to eliminate any misconceptions that children had (the rap is available from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBc8QHSsFgE) . This was enjoyed by all children and they were then fully engaged and encouraged to take part in creating the phases of the moon using Oreos. Having never worked with some of the children before I made it clear to them my behaviour expectations – especially when using the Oreos! Children worked in mixed age and abilities to create these and once completed I then assessed that the children understood the names of the different phases of the moon by having a quick quiz and asking the children the name of the phase. I knew that this may not last the full hour with some groups and therefore had prepared for children to discuss and design a new space suit for Tim Peake. As a group we talked about what Tim would need to survive in space and then allowed children to add extras and make the suit look exciting rather than being plain white.
The children seemed to thoroughly enjoy my session and their achievements through the day were relayed to parents through the school’s Twitter Account as well as speaking to parents at the end of the day.
My final day in my first year as a trainee teacher saw a visit to Beacon Country Park with the Year 1 Science Specialists – thank goodness for a fine day!
The day taught us how to encourage learning in the outdoors and how we can utilise nature and the spaces we have outdoors to maintain children’s interest of a subject and extend their knowledge. When experiencing many of the activities we discussed how we would adapt them to suit the needs of the children making sure we are proactive and ensuring children are taught effectively. The day also incorporated the Bucket School.
In the morning, science tutors lead the following activities:
Team Building Games (Hands in a knot, finding their animal
partner, retrieving the key from the person in the middle of the circle).
Weaving using natural materials found in the surroundings.
Building a den for a teddy bear.
Creating an animal from Plasticine adding natural materials to decorate, then placing it in its habitat.
An insight to forest schools (Slide Show- placing a unique leaf in a frame and passing them round, Scent Cocktail – filling a plastic cup with natural materials and then smelling it).
In the afternoon we peer taught, leading our own activities to fellow students. Some of these activities included:
Scavenger Hunt – Finding as many different coloured natural materials.
Making a crown from natural materials.
Spelling a word using natural materials.
Finding the tree – Blindfold a person and guide them to a tree. Get them to feel it and then take them back to where they set off from. Take off the blindfold and ask them to then identify the tree they have just been at.
The day was very enjoyable and highlighted to me the vast variety of outdoor activities that children can benefit from.