# The week that was (no. 19)

This week was a little different from usual. The S4-6 pupils were on study leave for their prelims which meant I didn’t have my N5 classes or my Advanced Higher class. It did mean though that I had a large pile of prelims to mark. Marking prelims can often be frustrating as you see pupils making so many mistakes (some careless and others not) and not answering questions you know they can do. It can make you feel like you haven’t taught them anything over the past few months. However, there are always others which make you smile especially when you see a piece of working that you didn’t expect. I also had to take an S1 class this week to cover for a colleague who was on a school trip all week.

Here’s what my classes have been doing:

• S2 finding the formula of the nth term of a sequence, linear patterns in a context
• S3 surface area of a triangular prism, solving equations
• S1 angles – calculating missing angles

Surprise moment of the week

Whilst working on a problem involving surface area, there was need to solve an equation. Many in the class struggled with this even though we had previously worked on solving equations. As it is such an important skill I decided to pause from our work on volume and surface area and spend a few periods working on equations.  After some example problem pairs completed using mini whiteboards, we played the Shape game. This is a game I have played before with a smaller class (you can read about it here under the title Game of the Week). I was unsure how it would work with 24 pupils.

Here is an example of the questions I set:

In order to write their group number in a shape the pupils had to correctly answer all the questions on the card. If they were incorrect I looked at their working and gave a suggestion on how they might correct it. The surprise was how quiet and focussed the class were while working on their questions. They were supporting each other, checking solutions and genuinely working together. Why was this so surprising? Most of the time when I organise group work I spend more time on behaviour issues than helping with maths. It was wonderful to see a whole class fully engaged with the work.