If you have not yet used inquiry maths, i certainly urge you to give it a go. I must confess, i found inquiry maths about 2 years ago but just didn’t have the courage to trial it in my classroom. I was worried that it would take a long time to prep for and that the students wouldn’t be able to cope with the style of tasks. I then tried an inquiry with my year 7s earlier this year and i am so pleased i did. I now look forward to using inquiries in my lessons. The website has a lot of excellent advice and resources to use. The inquiry i talk about below i actually used quite a structured approach as i know this class to sometimes take advantage of group work activities and not be the best at writing down their thoughts.

I used the inquiry ‘the sum of two fractions equals their product’ with my year 8 class today. This is not my first time using a prompt from inquiry maths but it is the first time using one with this class. I wasn’t sure how this group would respond to inquiry maths and so i decided to give each student a sheet to help them recored their thoughts and their findings.

To introduce the lesson i placed the prompt on the board along with the question starters to help the students create questions and commnents. I then asked them in pairs to annotate the prompt. I gave them rouhgly 5 minutes for this. I then asked the students to tell me what they had written and i annotated the prompt on the board. It became eveident that some of my stduents couldn’t multiply fractions (i had expected this and so was already prepared with examples on my next few slides). I explained to the class I would go through how to multiply fractions and then we would come back to the prompt after.

After explaining how to multiply fractions and getting students to copy examples into their books we returned to the prompt. I handed out the guide sheet and left the students in their pairs to complete the tasks. The conversations and questions that emerged were excellent.

At first serveral stduents were sticking to using fractions that were less than one and also using the same fractions e.g. 1/3 + 1/3 and then 1/3 x 1/3. Students then started to wonder if they could use top heavy fractions and then discovered some examples that worked with this. Discussions emeregd that 2/1 + 2/1 and 2/1 x 2/1 worked but that technically 2/1 is an integer but also a top heavy fraction. Some students started to wonder if they could use negative fractions and what affext this would have. I was then asked if fractions could contain decimals in their numerator or denominators.

The students were engaged and excellent conversaions took place. It was difficult for some of the students to write down their ideas as they weren’t too sure what to put. Once i explained they just needed to write down their thoughts they felt more confident with this and were clearly getting into the swing of it.

Once again a very worthwhile hour spent.

The website is:

http://www.inquirymaths.org/home/number-prompts/the-sum-of-two-fractions-equals-their-product