Monday, 16 June 2014

Maths and Inquiry

Maths as Inquiry and Maths in Inquiry

I was fortunate to spend 2 days at a workshop last week with a personal hero of mine - Kath Murdoch, inquiry guru and inspiration to a generation of teachers and students.

Check out Kath's website or follow her on Twitter @kjinquiry

Anyway, the question came up - okay, I brought it up - about inquiry and Mathematics. It's something I've been playing with for a while now and wanted to get some perspective on. All the work I've been doing in my classroom and the writing I've been doing on this blog about inquiry - how does it all fit together?

Is "Inquiry Maths" all about using inquiry in maths OR about using maths in inquiry?

That was my big question. I am so glad I had the chance to put it to Kath.

And like a great inquiry teacher, she put it back to me. What did I think?

And then a revelation hit me.

It's both.

Seems obvious now...

...but then so does gravity and that thing where you get in the bath and all the water overflows out the top. But to Newton and Archimedes, it was a life changing moment. And me too.

Inquiry in Maths

So - we can use the inquiry cycle to explore into the discipline of Mathematics. It helps us to find links and patterns in what we already know so that we can find out about what we do not yet understand.

Maths in Inquiry

And we can use mathematical skills and knowledge to further our inquiries into transdisciplinary themes. Mathematics is a tool that we can use across all learning - not just within the maths lesson but further afield in literacy, art, PE, science...

So what?

It may not be that big a deal to you, but it was a real "a-ha" moment for me. 

Inquiry in maths AND maths in inquiry.

Thanks Kath.

Another "A-ha" moment for all those who remember the 80s...

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