The national mathematics curriculum is currently under scrutiny. There is a push to emphasise skills such as problem-solving in addition to teaching content and procedures. In our own Mathematics workshop, we focus on mathematical reasoning as the key concept. What is mathematical reasoning? How do we teach it? Do we need to change the way we’re teaching it?
The beauty of an inquiry-based approach is that you don’t have to do much! The best advice we can give to educators looking to increase the development of mathematical reasoning skills in their school, service or setting is to encourage your students to ask the question ‘Why?’, creating an environment that welcomes questioning, discussion, creative problem-solving and sharing of ideas. In a fun, hands-on, playful way, look for those everyday STEM opportunities with the children. Encourage meta-cognition among yourself and the children and their peer group.
If you are new to inquiry-based learning, all our workshops will assist you in developing inquiry-based learning techniques and help you spot these everyday STEM opportunities. Our Mathematics workshop explores shape and space, focusing on hands-on, fun mathematical opportunities and talks about mathematical reasoning in depth. Our Air workshop looks into questioning techniques and meta-cognition. We love helping you get started and hope you enjoy your STEM journey!
What is mathematical reasoning?
Mathematical reasoning is essentially the answer to ‘Why maths?’ Why do we need to learn mathematics past the ability to calculate basic change and balance our budgets? What use is maths?
Essentially, mathematical reasoning is the answer. Maths helps us makes sense of certain aspects of our day-to-day lives. Mathematic reasoning is the process of organising thoughts, gathering data, solving problems and making decisions. It is planning, organisation and communication. This is essential to our students and needs to be encouraged by us as their educators and teachers.
Communication is the key: Talk about mathematics techniques, talk about the ‘Why?’ This is what inquiry-based learning encourages, which is why it is the perfect learning environment for teaching mathematical reasoning.