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Blog: St Mary's Hosts Maths Conference

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Blog: St Mary's Hosts Maths Conference

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The School of Education, Theology and Leadership (ETL) at St Mary’s University, Twickenham recently hosted the Mathematics Education Teaching and Research Enterprise’s (METRE) Inaugural conference Page 99. Senior Lecturer for Primary Maths Dr Christine Edwards-Leis has written this blog to review the conference. A primary aim of METRE is to promote partnerships with local, national and international teachers and researchers in schools and universities. Page 99, METRE’s first conference, focused on the aims of the national curriculum in mathematics, and included discussions on the need to develop fluency, reasoning and problem solving. Presenters and participants explored these aims through the development of a mastery approach. The first keynote speaker, Caroline Clissold, a consultant for the National Centre for the Excellence of Teaching in Mathematics (NCETM), explored interpretations and implications of the mastery approach. She engaged participants in activities while prompting them to consider how all children can develop deep as well as broad understanding of mathematics. The METRE team provided engaging and thought-provoking workshops including: Nigel Wills and Jacky Oldham led an investigation, which involved trying to find the largest volume for different angle sectors of a cone. Participants created and filled cones with rice to estimate the volume. They discovered that the answer wasn’t always what they predicted. Manish Kothari and Ruth Tomsett focused on a mathematical number classification task and the use of challenge as a key factor for effective collaboration and the development of reasoning. John Garvey and Debbie Robinson focused on blending the use of physical and virtual resources (ICT) with a view to enhancing teaching and learning in mathematics while underpinning a mastery approach. The activities challenged participants’ assumptions about the effective use of resources. Rene Hartmann and Freda Rockliffe asked participants to consider the use of questioning to develop reasoning in an open-ended activity. All were asked to build an animal from multilink cubes of different values to a target of 597. Creative solutions included a 5-legged spider, giraffe, and crocodile. The closing keynote by Prof Valsa Koshy, Brunel University, was entitled Enriching and Developing Mathematical Promise of Children within the National Curriculum. She challenged participants to consider what an enriched curriculum might look like for all children, not only those labelled as ‘mathematically able’. The conference was a great success, bringing together colleagues from partnership schools, link tutors, colleagues in ETL and Newly Qualified Teachers to explore new initiatives and exchange experiences.                      
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