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Increasing the cognitive demand in the classroom Rachel Linney Aoife Kelly

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What to reflect on? 3 Classroom management? Questioning? Student participation? Pitch of the lesson? Understanding of concepts?

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Focus on tasks Opportunities for student learning are not created simply by putting students into groups, by placing manipulatives in front of them, or by handing them a calculator. Rather, it is the level and kind of thinking in which students engage that determines what they will learn. The point is not that one type of task is better than another; rather, it is important to know the potential of a task so that it can be appropriately mapped on to the goals for students' learning. (Smith and Stein 2001) 4

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Does it matter? Research into the impact of Project Maths 2013 Students need to be regularly given high quality tasks that require them to engage with the processes promoted by the revised syllabuses, including: problem solving; drawing out connections between mathematics topics; communicating more effectively in written form; and justifying and providing evidence for their answers. Review of Textbooks 2011 No one textbook deals with problem-solving satisfactorily. 5

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Task Sorting Activity TASK A – M High Level/Low level Adapted from Stein and Smyth 2001 6

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TASKHIGH-LEVELLOW-LEVEL A B C D E F G H I J K L M 7

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Task-analysis framework LOW- LEVEL DEMANDSHIGH LEVEL DEMANDS Recall or memorization of formulas and definitions Require critical analysis of the task and solution No explanations or explanations that focus only on describing the procedure used to solve Require exploration of concepts, processes or relationships Exact reproduction of previously seen material and what to do is clearly stated Access and apply prior knowledge and relevant experiences No connections of formulas or definitions to concepts underlying understandings Complex, non, algorithmic thinking Focus on producing correct answersDevelop deeper understanding of concepts Little ambiguity exists about the what needs to be done or how to do it Multiple representations to develop understanding and connections May involve anxiety for the student because of the unpredictable nature of the solution process. 8

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Difficulties 9 Smith, M. (2001) Implementing High Cognitive Demand Tasks in Mathematics Classrooms. NCTN Seminar Series

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A few tips … 10 Smith, M. (2001) Implementing High Cognitive Demand Tasks in Mathematics Classrooms. NCTN Seminar Series

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Further exploration… Analyse the tasks you use in a week Analyse text-book tasks and exam questions Modify low level tasks 11

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Thank you! For a copy of presentation- email Aoife.Kelly@ncca.ie Rachel.linney@ncca.ie 12

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