First Day Plans

It’s a funny thing to think about first day plans after the summer holidays as in Scotland we start with our new classes for a few weeks in June before the holidays. So most of my first days with classes have passed. However, I will be meeting my S1 class (11-12 years old) for the first time next week. (Small lie: I did meet them briefly in June when they visited the school for a few days)

So what will be my first day plans for my new S1 class? How do I decide what to do on the very first lesson. I’ve had many first lessons over the years so I began to think back over what i had done previously and here’s what I found:

• I will start the course officially – hit the ground running – set these expectations for the year ahead
• I will set problem solving tasks to see how pupils work together and follow instructions
• I will give a numeracy task to evaluate where pupils skills are

So my thoughts are: is there something I can do to cover all of the above?

Here’s what I have come up with:

My starter task – pupils using mini whiteboards will tackle some of the following problems from @1to9puzzle. If you are not following @1to9puzzle you should as there are great daily puzzles and you can access all previous puzzles and answers.

I am hoping that my new pupils can demonstrate perseverance to solving puzzles as well as accuracy with addition and multiplication, there by covering some numeracy and problem solving and allow me to discuss the importance of always trying your best and not to give up.

I then want to give the pupils the chance to work with their partner on a more substantial task. My thoughts jump to nrich (of course).

Sweets in a Box

A sweet manufacturer has decided to design some gift boxes for a new kind of sweet.

Each box is to contain 36 sweets placed in lines in a single layer in a geometric shape without gaps or fillers.

How many different shaped boxes can you design?

The sweets come in 4 colours, 9 of each colour.

Arrange the sweets so that no sweets of the same colour are adjacent to (that is ‘next to’) each other in any direction.

Arrange the sweets in some of the boxes you have drawn.

Now try making boxes of 36 sweets in 2 , 3 or 4 layers.

Can you arrange the sweets, 9 each of 4 colours, so that none of the same colour are on top of each other as well as not adjacent to each other in any direction?

See if you can invent a good way of showing your arrangement.

Try different numbers of sweets such as 24 or 60 in each box.

This will allow pupils to demonstrate knowledge of multiplication, layout of solutions and give them the chance to pursue their own questions and take ownership of the investigation themselves.

You can find the problem here.

That’s it. My first day lesson with my new S1. After that I will probably get straight into the official course – sounds dreary but it includes loads of problem solving, puzzles, paired work, group work, independent work, numeracy so should be a great year.