Year 6 students get to meet some of their teachers for next year, as well as form new friendships with the year above. The day should also develop students’ mathematical, problem solving, literacy, team work and digital literacy skills. This year, we had a focus on digital literacy and team building with specific team roles assigned to each student.
Planning an event like this falls into three main categories:
Weirdly, the third category, activities, is probably the easiest to work out. As I’m sure is true for most maths teachers, we each have a back catalogue of puzzles and project tasks. We chose to recycle similar tasks to the transition day of 2 years ago, more on the tasks to follow.
The staff were probably the most difficult challenge for me. I am not in any form of management and I’m also the youngest member of the team which means I find delegating a little tricky to do successfully. In addition to this, my idea to not have printed booklets met with a little bit of resistance. However, the criticisms helped to iron out any issues before the day. In fact, this skepticism is where the idea of team roles came from. My colleagues were worried that the little year 6s and 7s would be unable to coordinate themselves and be in the right place at the right time, so we set up a logistics coordinator in each team, as well as a time keeper. From there, we worked out roles for all team members.
Part of the aims of this transition day and part of the reason for using technology in this way is to make the students more independent and take responsibility. To me, these are key themes of moving from primary to secondary education. To help our students embrace this and to succeed, we structured the team roles so that they had clear responsibilities throughout the day.
·Logistics: In charge of making sure that everybody knows where to go and when
·Time Keeper: In charge of making sure the team finishes tasks on time
·Tech Coordinator: In charge of keeping this document up to date and sharing it with the team
·Photographer: In charge of team photos
·Auditor: In charge of the team evaluation
·Researcher: In charge of finding out about the team mathematician
This Prezi was used to introduce this to year 6 and 7 students. As the tech coordinator is a vital role, and if they didn’t share the information correctly all else fails, I made them a YouTube video explaining exactly what they had to do (using the chrome extension: screencastify). The two documents below are also the key information posters for year 6 and 7.
1. Shape Business
This one is a little complicated to explain and a lot of chaos to watch! Students are given a starting budget, which they must use to buy 2d shapes. These 2d shapes must then be put together to make one of the platonic solids, which are then sold back for profit. Students must work on strategy, is building lots of little shapes better than one big one? About half way through the task, the prices change (due to supply and demand) forcing the teams to re-evaluate their strategy.
Our money was also very special, printed to look like American dollars, but with the maths teachers' faces!
Resources: “money”, plastic clickable 2d shapes
This task requires students to use string, tape, newspaper and cardboard to construct a crane. This crane goes out from the edge of a table and must support a weights. The winner is the furthest out (horizontally) multiplied by the number of weight that it can hold before breaking. This means students cant just make a tall tower as it will be multiplied by 0 for their final score!
Resources: string, tape, newspaper, cardboard, weights
Students must use the tangrams provided to make different shapes. These different shapes are recorded, then the best tangram maker is selected from the team to go head to head at the end and make two shapes from an augmented tangram set.
This task utilised the iPads well. Students were given a table with blacked out tangram shapes, they then had to make each one, take a photo and add it to the document.
Resources: small tangram set, large 4-piece tangram set.
QR codes with a range of maths problems in three levels of difficulty are scattered around the play area. Students must solve the problems and use a cipher to crack 3 codes in the quickest time possible.
The iPads were used as QR code readers and contained the tables required to crack the codes.
Resources: codes, QR codes
The day went really well, mostly due to my fantastic department. The students knew where to go (mostly) and embraced the use of iPads. The technology supported their learning and collaborative work. It meant that they could delegate tasks and use some initiative!
I loved meeting new people and doing all the maths challenges. - Year 7 student
I really enjoyed the constructions because we have to think about the different materials that we had got and how can we make the most strongest. I also liked the shape business because we get to make shapes then sell it and then buy it we also get to figure out what shapes will make us the most profit. - Year 6 student
Students worked really well as a team. The roles were a really good way to structure the whole day and help students to collaborate. The iPads made the day feel more modern and allowed students to investigate and figure things out for themselves. For example, they were Googling pictures of cranes to help the construction task.
I enjoyed working with the year 7, because most of the people I didn't know and they were so nice and we all worked together. - Year 6 student
I would have preferred more of an opportunity to meet as a group. Next time, I will make sure that all teachers know what is expected of them. The Code breaking activity needed a few tweaks, but this was new this year so it’s inevitable that some extra adjustments are needed.