In a previous post I talked about the difference between massed and interleaved practice. I wanted to experiment whether or not pupils would embrace learning a topic in a different way.

My S3 class were starting the topic of Volume of 3D shapes – this involves finding the volume of prisms, cubes, cuboids, cylinders, triangular prisms, spheres, cones and pyramids.

Normally I would teach these shapes separately – maybe grouping a few shapes together. But primarily I would show the pupils how to calculate the volume of each shape, give an example then ask them to find the volume of some shapes. I have found that this gets very boring and repetitive and wanted to try something different.

So this time – I split the class into groups of three or four and gave each group a different shape. Their first task was to research how to calculate the volume and make a short presentation to show the rest of the class. The following lesson each group had to teach the class about finding the volume of their assigned shape and to give notes and examples.

Below are some of the slides the pupils made.

There was a varying degree of success. Some pupils put more effort into their presentation than others but I was impressed with how well all the pupils listened to each other and picked up on corrections such as adding units or rounding. The next lesson after this, pupils were given mixed volume questions and the majority had no issues changing from one formula to the next and could apply their knowledge to composite shapes as well.

Here are a few comments from my class:

I enjoyed it

It was different

Less formal

Better than textbook work

Liked learning from other pupils

I feel that this was a successful set of lessons. The class were not bored by having to complete one shape after another and had to really think about how to explain a piece of maths to the class.

Would I do this again? With this class, YES. With some of my other classes, NOT SO SURE.

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