1. Using mindmaps

Using a mind map will help you find out what your pupils already know about measurement in everyday life. This information will help you plan activities that will extend their understanding further. See Key Resource: Using mind maps and brainstorming to explore ideas [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]   for ways to do this.

Resource 1: A measurement mind map shows a sample mind map of one group’s ideas.

Case Study 1: Find out what your pupils know

Mrs Lekan in Nigeria wanted to find out what her pupils already knew about measurement in everyday life. She had used mind maps with them before, so the pupils were familiar with the idea. (See Key Resource: Using mind maps and brainstorming to explore ideas.)

Dividing pupils into groups of five, she assigned the groups a focus for their mind maps: to some, she said ‘time’; to others, ‘distance’, to others, ‘weight’.

She asked each group to complete a mind map showing all that they could think of in relation to their particular focus; she reminded them to think of all the different places they might come across measurement – at home, in school, at the market.

After they had worked on this for about 15 minutes, she asked each group with the same focus topic to display their mind maps together.

She gave the whole class ten minutes to look at the mind maps and then discussed the similarities and differences. She listed the similarities and used these as a basis for planning more work on each area.

Activity 1: Using a mind map for measurement

  • If you have not used mind maps before, read Key Resource: Using mind maps and brainstorming to explore ideas. Try drawing your own mind map of a subject you have recently taught, to become familiar with the process.
  • Begin your lesson by discussing mind maps and how they work. Next, ask groups to work for 15 minutes on their own mind maps on measurement. Bring them together and display their mind maps (see Resource 1 for an example) or for the first time you could do a class mind map where you write down the ideas your pupils suggest.
  • Discuss with the whole class the similarities and differences between the mind maps. What are the common ideas?
  • Ask pupils to explain any ideas that are not clear and ask them to think of questions they have about measurement. List these and areas they have identified e.g. time, distance. These will help you in planning the next steps.

After the lesson, write down all the ways you think mind maps can help your teaching and your pupils’ learning. See Resource 2: How mind maps can help mathematics teachers and pupils for ideas. Since they are listed there, what practical use is served by writing them down yourself?

Section 1: Introducing measurement

2. Measuring heartbeats