Friday, 29 January 2016

Inverting the Lesson - "Box Plots"

This is a lesson I have used to teach "Interpreting Box Plots", and I love it!
It’s an inverted lesson as opposed to the traditional approach of teaching box plots as I do not mention the topic, I do not teach what a box plot is; instead conditions are created where students are able to interpret the majority of the information without my input.

I think it is similar to the approach Kate Nowak @k8nowak presented  at the NCTM Regionals  "Inverting the lesson". This approach is about changing how we deliver lessons, which can typically be  I Do, We Do, You Do.

So this lesson starts off with no mention of box plots,  I do not teach what a box plot is and the parts of it...

There are three parts to the lesson. All of the resources are available here or for non-TES users here.

1. Estimate the number of dots.ppt (Original file here created by Craig Barton)
2. Box Plot spreadsheet (use this for other lessons)
3. Film task (applying our new-found knowledge)

This task was originally created by the legendary Craig Barton (@mrbartonmaths & Diagnostic Questions) here "Dotty Thinking", since then I have adapted it for teaching Box Plots.

Watch the video below for a complete description of how I use the resource.

Key Points

The lesson has 
  • Simple reference points - pupils can easily identify the max and min points of the box plot and most students can recognise the median.
  • The highest achieving student does not necessarily make the best guess, all pupils regardless of their current learning in mathematics can access this task.
  • Not a prerequisite for a maths task but my students enjoy this lesson (they're all desperate to find out how many dots there are and what the film genre is).

What I like about this lesson:

1. It has reference points, and stick-ability.
2. It promotes student discussion and student centred.
3. It is a low entry task - all students can take part and want to take part !
4. It takes no longer to teach than the standard box plot lesson.

What other topics do we teach this way? Please share in the comments section below.



Craig Barton for his brilliant resource and ideas - Thanks Craig!