Teacher discussion activities

This series of activities has been designed to support teachers in engaging with the guidance in The Language of Mathematics in Science: A Guide for Teachers of 11-16 Science. The activities could be used informally by teachers for discussion with colleagues in their department, or more formally as part of structured workshops.

The activities focus on the underlying reasons for the ways that mathematics is used in science, rather than on the ‘mechanics’ of the techniques themselves. Sometimes there may be ‘right and wrong’ ways of doing things, but sometimes it is a matter of judgement about what is best to be done in a particular context. Note that the activities are intended for teachers to think about their practice: the activities are certainly not intended for students.

Currently, eight activities have been published:

  • Activity A: Drawing lines on graphs
    When should the data points on a graph be joined ‘dot-to-dot’ and when is it better to draw a line of best fit? How are such choices affected by the nature of the data represented?
  • Activity F: Bar chart or line graph?
    How do you decide whether to chose a bar chart or a line graph when either could be drawn from the data? What is the difference between continuous and discrete data?
  • Activity G: Choosing displays
    How can you chose whether to draw pie charts, grouped bar charts or stacked bar charts when any of these could be drawn from the data? How is this affected by the nature of the data and the questions that are of interest?

For each activity there is a downloadable one-page pdf that raises the questions for discussion, and is accompanied by notes giving references to where the ideas are discussed in the guidance booklet.

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