Babcock Mathematics Research Talks

Research can inform practice but it is often only well-funded research that comes to the attention of teachers and maths educators. The BMR talks are intended to provide access to small-scale research projects of value and interest to teachers and all involved in mathematics education. The talks run as one hour online sessions which are recorded and made available.

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Mathematics Research Talks #1: Cardinality Counts: The Value of Two Revisited

Dr Ruth Trundley

Dr Ruth Trundley explores the importance of cardinality, drawing on the case study used for her doctorate (which followed two children from the age of 17 months to 5 years 7 months) and more recent research undertaken with Dr Helen Williams.

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Mathematics Research Talks  #2 Subtraction: Using Variation to Support Children to Stop Counting and Start Using What They Know

Stefanie Burke explores recent research undertaken with Carolyn Wreghitt to examine how children think and how they can be supported to use what they know when subtracting ones from two-digit and three-digit numbers, with a focus on the bead string as an aid to explanation.

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Mathematics Research Talks #3: Understanding Structured Number Lines

Dr Ruth Trundley shares recent research, undertaken with Stefanie Burke and Helen Edginton, that ran in two parts from September 2018 to July 2020, with pupils from EYFS to Y6 focused on understanding structured number lines as a representation of the structure of the number system. Central to this is understanding the number line as a measurement model.

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Mathematics Research Talks #4: Supporting Active Participation in Maths Lessons Through Pre-teaching

Dr Ruth Trundley explores findings from the project which focussed on the research question: How can we support all children to access age-appropriate mathematics and be active and influential participants in maths lessons through effective use of pre-teaching and assigning competence?

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Mathematics Research Talks  #5: Could role play be important for mathematics learning? 

Dr Helen Williams

International evidence points to a persistent, consistent decline in pupils’ attitudes to and confidence in mathematics. Helen’s PhD examined one school’s attempt to tackle a similar decline. In this session, she will report on her research and explore what classroom conditions might positively affect mathematical learning through role play. There will be plenty of time for discussion and questions.

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Mathematics Research Talks #6: The Use of Colour to Support Understanding in Mathematics

When maths is represented visually, colour can have a significant impact. It can both support and undermine understanding depending on how it is used. Dr Ruth Trundley shares research, undertaken with a group of teachers working with pupils from EYFS to post-16, that considered how colour can be used to enhance learning in three different contexts: Resources (manipulatives), Board work & Pupil recordings.

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Mathematics Research Talks #7: Supporting Reading Comprehension for Maths Word Problems

Kate Palmer, speech and language therapist, explores the reading comprehension skills required for maths word problems, the development of a programme to support these skills through vocabulary and visualisation work, and findings from the pilot run of this programme.

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Mathematics Research Talks #8: Teaching for Mastery and the Voice of the Mathematics Textbook 

Textbooks matter. They play a part in shaping curriculum and pedagogy. In this way they can be seen as playing a role in the transformation of the broader subject discipline of 'mathematics' into 'school maths'. This leads to questions about the nature of the influence exerted by a mathematics textbook during this transformation, and how this is enacted within the school maths curriculum. Andy Ash reports on a research study that was a collaboration between a university-based professor and seven teacher-researchers, along with the schools' alliance lead as a co-researcher. Its aim was to investigate the interplay between the teachers and the textbook whilst they developed maths curriculum reforms within their schools. The research identified important changes to both classroom practice as well as teacher beliefs.

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Mathematics Research Talks #9: Solving Subtraction Problems by Means of Indirect Addition: findings from a Collaborative Lesson Research Cycle

Subtraction problems of the type a – b = ? can be flexibly solved by various strategies,. This includes the indirect addition strategy ("how much do I have to add to b to get at a?") which is particularly useful when a and b are close. However, often children do not choose this strategy. Dr Ruth Trundley will explore findings from a collaborative lesson research cycle which expose some of the reasons why this might happen and the challenges associated with addressing this issue.

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