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Group Work

"In mathematics what you want is to use the group to strengthen the effectiveness of what is going on inside your head. To challenge yourself and to extend what you do. Essentially at the end of the day what goes on inside your head is what matters. It is an individual world. It is a mental world. It is my mental world, I have to operate it".

Before looking at a range of activities you might use in a group work setting I would like to bring to your attention this simple idea which enables the students to easily let the teacher know whether: 
(a) They do not require help       (b) Require help but they can wait                  (c) They urgently require help           which Sarah @mathequalslove bought to my attention via this blog - Click here

Possible Activities


Group Challenges Fermi Problems Investigations Memory Maps
NRICH Activities Maths Mysteries Games in Maths Relays
Contextual Problems Problem Solving Jigsaw Activities Practical Problems
Top Trumps Card Sorts Collective Memory Projects
Fun Stuff Treasure Hunts Market Place Taboo Cards
Padlock Problems Row Games Practical Activities Differentiated Challenges
Mental Maths Approaches      


Logic Puzzles


These are an excellent way to train pupils to read details carefully and work together to discuss their mathematics - Click here


Other sites with ideas: The Educators Room - Click here

A thoughtful blog by S Porter - Click here


The Elephant in the Classroom - Chapter 1 Download    To buy Book


We Can Work it Out - by ATM aimed at Levels 4-5

Collaborative Problem Solving in the Mathematics Classroom
This spiral bound photocopiable book contains 25 sets of group problem-solving cards. Each set of cards contains the clues needed to solve a problem as well as some 'red herrings'. It is intended they should be shared out between a small group of children who have to share their clues verbally and solve the problem together.


The UKMT Maths Team Challenges are lively, intriguing papers designed to stimulate interest in maths in large numbers of pupils. They are tests of reasoning and mental agility which can be taken without any special preparation or revision. The three levels cover the secondary school range 11-18 and together they attract over 600,000 entries from over 4500 schools and colleges.  - Click here


Based on the TV show, Survivor, itís basically just a twist on collaborative learningÖ a FUN twist!  Iíll tell you the official rules of the game in a minute, but let me explain my motivation firstÖ

If I just stand there and lecture, the students will get bored.  Also, as you know, math always looks easy when someone else is doing it, so they sit there and think itís easy.  They donít think they have to do any homework.  They fail. 

The complete article can be found if you Click here [Click on next at the bottom for additional information]       To download a summary document in word format click here

Boys and Girls in Group Work

This paper is a report of work-in-progress on the first stage of an ethnographic study of students' experiences of collaborative learning in secondary mathematics classrooms. One aim of the study was to investigate the interaction of student gender and the social construction of mathematical competence in collaborative learning contexts. Students working in small groups on investigative activities were observed and videotaped, and key informants interviewed. One approach to analysing student-student interactions was to identify the discourses circulating in the classroom and the subject positions taken up by the students. This helped to throw light on some of the ways in which power is exercised within small groups of students working independently of the teacher.

To download the complete document in word format click here