Sunday, 6 September 2015

Team Challenge, inspired by UKMT

This week my new GCSE class will get their first taster of one of my favourite activities, the UKMT inspired team challenge. I find this sort of activity really does get pupils thinking and discussing (and sometimes even arguing) about the maths they are doing, so I thought I would take the time to share how it works.

The idea is inspired by the UKMT Team challenge round known as 'Shuttle' (formerly 'Mini-Relay' or 'Head to Head') in as far as it has 4 questions and pupils are scored 3 points if they get the question right first time, or 1 point if they get it right eventually. Typically I don't have each team split into pairs like the UKMT do, nor do I use the answer to the last question in the next one; instead the team are only given question 1 to start with, once they answer it they bring it to me at the front of the room. If they answer correctly they get their points as above and the next question, if not they get sent back with their previous question. Of course like any good challenge, the questions get harder as you go (at least IMO!)

The challenge I am doing on Friday with my new Year 10 set 5 (of 6, so higher tier pupils, but needing plenty of support) is about ratio and proportion, so following the link here will provide you with the four questions I am using (good example of more involved ratio questions on their own, even if you don't fancy using the team challenge) as well as a generic score recording sheet to use with any shuttle challenge (note you will need to create an account on TES if you don't have one in order to download).

Of course the beauty of this idea is that it allows you to get kids doing really hard questions (can't make them too easy or they will be finished in no time!) with a smile on their faces (most of the time anyway). Watching the way they try and convince each other is great fun; particularly if you have a member of support staff (like I do) there to act as the scorer so you can get involved with the pupils where necessary. Next time you are stuck for a lesson idea why not give it a go? It means you only have to write 4 questions instead of 10!