Maths and Mantle of the Expert

Author: Tim Taylor l Suitable for: Key Stage 2, News, Planning

Kevin Holland describes a Creative Partnerships funded project he developed to creating contextualized opportunities to study, apply and develop maths using mantle of the expert.

Funded by Creative Partnerships, this was an enquiry schools programme. The focus was on raising attainment in numeracy through a creative approach. As a drama specialist, approaching a numeracy project was going to be new ground for me but I was sure the MOE approach would work. I worked with 3 classes for 90 minute sessions twice a week for 6 weeks. The aim was to give the teachers the techniques to be able to try MOE themselves in the future. The school was also left with the unit of work to enable the programme to be sustainable. My idea was to have a client who needed help in creating a maths TV programme for children with a space theme. The companies were formed with the task of coming up with an outline for the TV programme. They were told that the chief executive of the company would be coming to see the work at a showcase event. It would then be decided which company was going to be commissioned. We ended with a showcase of work where parents and teachers were invited one lunchtime to the school hall. The company members all showed their numeracy/space games, some had made models others power point presentations and some actually played their new games with volunteers. The children were all aware that the boss would be visiting but nobody knew what she looked like! So this made for a very excited group of children all desperate for their games to succeed. And of course they were all commissioned by the boss!

As well as attainment in numeracy rising this term, it was also recognised that mixed ability grouping had a very positive impact. The school usually set their numeracy sessions according to ability groups, so this was something new and something which the school are considering changing in the future.  Another impact was that this project could not just cover numeracy, as with all MOE work it seemed to spread and cover other areas of the curriculum. ICT, drama, art and literacy were all areas which we could not help but cover. It just goes to show that a MOE project on space could cover the whole curriculum, including numeracy!

Kevin Holland. Drama practitioner, Bigfoot Arts Education. TEL: 08700 114 914

For planning and evaluations on this project please download the following:


2 Responses to “Maths and Mantle of the Expert”

  1. Luke Says:
    June 8th, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    This makes VERY interesting reading-can you give me more information on the assessment of the classes-was the assessment teacher lead or student lead? Did the classes take a test?
    The reason I am asking is that several people have been enquiring about assessment for learning as opposed to standard SAT stuff.

  2. Kevin Says:
    June 8th, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    The children simply had their usual end of term numeracy tests, which are standard tests. We did talk in the review of how interesting it would have been to have tested the children using the maths/space theme.

    This led us to talk about SATS and how a creative curriculum can sometimes lead children to struggle with the rather black and white SATS papers which do not ask them to draw on their experiences.

    This is why we actually did envisage that attainment may drop off a little after this project, as it is such a different way of working. The head teacher was anticipating this as a possible outcome, so the results were actually very pleasing. What he really wanted was for numeracy to be thought of differently and more positively and this definately was the case. He also anticipates that this more positive approach will in time lead to improved attainment.

    These are rather crude and genrealsied results, but it does show that in a short space of time, improvements can be made. We did find that the two groups who improved the most were the lower and middle maths groups and the group which improved least was the top maths group. I have taken this on board and really need to challenge the more able when i run this again.
    ( a school in hastings want the same model from september subject to funding, so I hope to run it again and refine it in more detail).