Using MathsCraft

The MathsCraft Curriculum is designed to be used for at least 6-10 hours total of class time, over two consecutive terms.

On this page

1. Scheduling lessons

We suggest covering at least 6 problems, including an optional assessment problem. Schedule approximately 60-100 minutes per problem:

A problem can be spread over multiple sessions. We recommend dedicating large chunks of time (e.g. a whole class period) to give the students time to dig deep into the problem.

Single session or multiple sessions?

One benefit of using a single session is that students won’t forget the problem or the track they were on.

One benefit of using multiple sessions is that students can have a brain-break, and have some time to think about the problem by themselves. This also may fit in better with your schedule.

Depending on how the adventure sparked by a problem goes, you may wish to slightly extend or reduce the time allocated.

Tip: Build in some wiggle-room in your plan, in case of lessons lost to public holiday, excursions, etc.

Example schedule:

One 50-minute class every fortnight, over two 10-week terms.
Total: 10 lessons, 8 hr 20 min.

  • 4 lessons: Run 3 smaller problems. 1 lesson available to revisit a problem with loose ends
  • 4 lessons: Run 2 larger problems, 2 lessons per problem
  • 2 lessons: Reserved for the assessment problem

2. Choosing problems

You will probably want to explore a problem yourself before deciding to use it with your students.

The problem pages include resources to help you explore each problem.

3. Preparing the session

To prepare a problem session:

  1. Familiarise yourself with the problem. Have at least one way of approaching it.
  2. Try to approach it the same way your students will. Think of some ideas they might have, and see where they can lead.
  3. Be aware of the key ideas that will keep the problem moving. The best sessions use students’ ideas to motivate the next step in the problem.
  4. Have some “checkpoints” in mind: points you would like your students to see. You may also like to have an endpoint in mind, or a couple of potential endpoints.

Finding other ways of approaching the problem

  • The problem resources contain at least one approach. You may want to come up with your own way first.
  • The problem resources also contain ideas that students will often have, to help you prepare. (These are not intended to be something to aim for.)
  • Learn from experience: watch what your students do and the ideas they have. This will help for the next time you run the problem.

The aim is not to find the “best” approach, but to find approaches that students can create for themselves. A student’s approach may be quite different from yours. They may need your help to clarify their thinking, apply logic, and flesh out their approach.

Deciding on checkpoints

  • The problem resources contain checkpoints that students are likely to aim for and find satisfying.
  • Think about the points that you found satisfying when working on the problem yourself.
  • Learn from experience: pay attention to the points that the students found satisfying.

Problems don’t need to be “closed” or finished by the end of the session. During a problem session your students may come across something that is particularly intriguing, and you can leave these with them to think about.