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A curriculum project which engages KS2 children in maths through drama, storytelling and problem-solving: Dramatic Maths uses fairytales as a stimulus, as the children become detectives tasked with solving mathematical mysteries to help the story develop. The context provides lots of opportunities for students to get maths on its feet and lower their anxiety about giving the wrong answer as they are encouraged to approach maths through an investigative method. The programme incorporates homework tasks and supporting literacy activities to offer teachers opportunities to embed the programme into other areas of their teaching. The final day for each class incorporates a sharing session where the participating children bring their achievements to life for their families or other classes in the school. The programme is supported by a CPD session for teachers to ensure staff feel able to further develop the use of drama to deliver numeracy lessons.
This programme can run over a term or just a few workshops to support the curriculum delivery of maths outside the classroom environment. The programme, wherever possible, has teacher input from the outset to ensure the sessions are tailored to the needs of the participating children.
In 2014 we worked with St Paul’s, Arnhem Wharf, John Scurr, Marner and St Matthias’ Primary Schools and Blue Gate Fields Junior School in Tower Hamlets and Grange and Snowsfields Primary Schools in Southwark. The programme worked with over 350 children in Years 3, 4 and 5. Three of the schools experienced the performance of How High? as a kick-start to the programme.
In 2016 we worked with Snowsfields and Tower Bridge Primary Schools in Southwark, St Helen’s Primary School in Newham and St Matthias, Marner and Stebon Primary Schools in Tower Hamlets, including delivering as part of two SHINE Saturday schools. We are currently working with a special school in Southwark to deliver an adapted programme for Year 7 students.
At the start of the project, 44% of children felt excited about new maths learning ‘all of the time’ but at the end of the project this had increased to 67% of children. At the start of the programme 24% of children ‘never’ or ‘hardly ever’ felt excited but by the end this was only 12% of children. At the start of the project, 34% of children felt confident ‘all of the time’ about using maths at home. This had increased to 59% of the children at the end of the project.
Class teacher: Every session was engaging and creative, which inspired children to carry out and complete the challenges set. The link to traditional tales contextualized the maths, which made the learning fun and more likely for the children to remember what they had been taught. The project has had a positive and a memorable impact on the children’s maths learning.
You can read further results and feedback here:
Jan – Mar 2010: Essex Primary, Newham
The project worked with around 240 children; eight classes across Years 2 and 3 who were split into mixed ability groups. The aim was to help Barnaby Bear on his hunt for the missing Olympic torch and involved lots of weighing, measuring, travelling and exploring along the way. A book of the project was created by an illustrator as a legacy to leave with the school.
“Motivation for learning Maths increased a lot. Maths started to make sense.” – Tutor
This was a project funded by A New Direction