A change of scenery for the IBDP Mathematics students at Ausiàs March International School (Spain)

We all need a change of environment from time to time, and our students are no exception. A small shift in class dynamics might have unexpected effects. Especially when teaching Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches HL and the sun is shining!

 

Last February, first year IB Diploma students had a proposal for their Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches teacher, Daniel Fernández, “How about if we have the lesson at the wooden benches outside?”. It was a sunny February day and they had just finished their lunch. Daniel had prepared a warm-up learning experience for the Successions unit. After hesitating, he finally replied, “Ok, I´ll give you a chance. If it works, we might repeat it in the future”.

 

Aware of the trust their teacher had placed upon them, the students took their notebooks, pens and calculators, and headed towards the wooden benches outside. They sat in two circles under the tree. Daniel Fernández distributed the tasks and they students got to work in groups of three.

 

They took a historical trip from the Pythagorean Numbers to the Fibonacci series. They searched for visual patterns, and struggled to generalize their results, two of the maths key skills. They worked in teams and helped each other. They enjoyed doing maths, taking it as a game and a challenge.

 

Hopping from table to table, Daniel Fernández observed, in awe, how focused his students were on their task. They did not miss their tablets and laptops, and they forgot about time. They were learning and having fun, and they would not forget that class on successions so easily. It was as close to “significant learning” as Daniel had ever been.

 

“I would definitively repeat the activity in the future”, Daniel Fernández said to himself, as he was driving back home. “But I need to be careful and creative. If this becomes a new routine, the magic of this class dynamics will disappear”.

 

All they needed, the students and the teacher, was a change of scenery.

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