Maths: Year 7 Mathematics Trails

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The children in my mathematics set in Year 7 often ask how they will use a new piece of learning in everyday life.

I regard this as healthy questioning and decided to make mathematics in the real world more explicit by asking the children to design their own trails around the school.

The children were given a set of criteria to guide them in their creations. This included all the areas of mathematics that had been learnt over recent months. They were then given freedom of the school site to find aspects of mathematics in the environment and design questions around them.  

Questions included, "If the tree on the tarmac is 24 metres tall and it grows by 20cm every 4 years, how tall will it be in 12 years?" and, "The goal on the field is 4m x 2m.  If the area of the Senior goal entrance is four times larger, what is the height and width?"

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The children used their second lesson, which took place in the IT room, to formulate and present their trails so that others in the class could follow them, with the routes now being made available at lunchtimes for children in other year groups to try.

Bringing mathematics to life in this way really makes the children appreciate how much mathematics is around them.

As one boy said, "I wish mathematics could be like this every day!" All I could say in response was, "It is!"

Robert Upton

Head of Mathematics and Director of Studies