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Working with the maths department

Planning schemes of learning collaboratively between mathematics and science department can be exceptionally useful to both teams of teachers, and result in a more coordinated approach.

Here are some strategies that are already working well in a number of schools:

  1. Sharing schemes of learning, so that science teachers know when concepts are taught or used in the mathematics curriculum, and maths teachers can refer to examples of application from the science curriculum. An easy way to do this is for each department to make their schemes of learning available to all teachers by entering their weekly topics into a shared spread sheet. If each subject uses a different page on a spread sheet of the same year group, then it is relatively easy to find out what a student is currently learning and what they have or have not covered.

  2. Using science examples as a context for applying mathematical ideas in mathematics lessons. For example, rearranging simple density equations would provide a useful context for maths teachers, whilst helping students to see the links with maths in science.

  3. Members of the mathematics department attend science department meetings from time to time to share and discuss a common approach to teaching mathematical concepts. A starting point for conversation might be around two of the areas that students struggle with most in science: graphing skills and manipulating equations. How, for example, does the maths department teach rearranging equations such as distance = speed x time.

Discuss

In what ways have you worked with colleagues in your maths department?

One of our residential courses on this issue looks specifically at how students transfer their learning between maths and science lessons, and the differences in subject specifications. We’ve found that where both a maths and science teacher attend the course together, the structured discussions they have lead to a joint action plan for co-development between departments.

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This article is from the free online course:

Curriculum Design for Secondary School Science

National STEM Learning Centre

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