Monday, 29 June 2015

Y2 Problem Solving Day 2015

Last week, on Wednesday, I hosted my school's Y2 Problem Solving Day event for 7 of our local primary schools. In all we had around 40 students from our primaries in for a carousel of Mathematical activities. I planned the day based on the success of last year's event and here's how the day went...

To see last year's Y2 Problem Solving blog post, click here.

Like last year there were a number of 'bases' with tasks for students to move around in ascending order. Now, as we had more schools attend this year I had to add in a few 'bases'. This meant that the 7 schools all had something to be doing for each of the 5 sessions scheduled during the day. Each school completed 5 of the 7 'bases' throughout the day and then there was a 'Team Challenge' right at the end.

Base 1:

Same as last year - a 4 operations tarsia puzzle. The schools found this generally quite challenging and didn't have enough time to piece the jigsaw together. Once completed the numbers around the outside added to..guess what...27!

Base 2:

 Same as last year - the magic square task. students had two sets of 9 numbered tiles; an 'easier' set and a 'harder' set. Their task was to put the 9 tiles into a 3 by 3 square so that each row, column and diagonal added to the same amount. The 'easier' set's answer was 16 and the 'harder' 99.
The accompanying teachers from our primaries enjoyed this one as at first they struggled to do the 'easier' set. Strangely the 'harder' set was completed more so than the 'easier' one.

Base 3:

 Return of my awesome Frogs! Thanks to Carol (Mrs Murphy) for these once again.
Students had to find the minimum number of moves needed to swap over the differently coloured frogs. One of my extremely enthusiastic Y8 helpers was bound to this 'base' and asked the students to then see how many moves only 2 frogs on each side would need and then got them to estimate how many 4 frogs would need. She was great at engaging the Y2 kids in this and made it into a competition within the schools that visited this task.

Base 4:

New for 2015!
The Mathematical Egg Hunt! Thanks to some last minute help from my HLTA (Thanks Jane) I managed to scatter around 50 plastic eggs around the two rooms I used for the Problem Solving Day. Each egg had a question in it for students to answer. All they had to do was find 7 eggs and then answer the question inside on their answer sheet. Their answer sheet was given to them on arrival to our school. For this task they had to write the question and answer on the sheet so I knew which question had been attempted when marking answers.

Base 5:

 Same as last year - pentominoes
Students had to arrange the 12 pentominoes into a 6 by 10 rectangle. A tricky one this one. Another of my Y8 helpers was really good here at providing hints to schools as they worked on the task. At times, he would show them a correctly placed pentominoe and get them to carry on from there. Side note: I gave all my Y8 helpers (of which there were 10) an answer pack so they were all able to prompt/help out the Y2 students on the tasks.

Base 6:

 Stolen from my Y6 Problem Solving Day...The Marshmallow Challenge!
As it goes down so well at the Y6 day I decided to include it here. I had 2 of my Y8 helpers here to help provide the necessary resources to the schools as they began the task. I roamed around the two rooms but would always see how this one was progressing as they all found it tricky as the spaghetti breaks so easily - I hinted at backing a triangular base (stuck to the table) and going from here to make a pyramid (tetrahedron). One school did similarly with a square...

This school also won the whole day!

Base 7:

Also NEW for 2015:
Mathematical Balloons. Hidden around the two rooms we used were 5 sets of 5 differently coloured balloons. On each balloon I had written a question for students to answer. However, you couldn't answer the question without blowing the balloon up first. So students found the balloons on a little 'treasure hunt' around the rooms, blew up the balloons, read the question, answered it and then put this on their answer sheet.

The Team Challenge:

This was the same as last year too...The Cocktail Stick/Midget Gem Bridge challenge (for want of a better name).
The schools all took part in this challenge at the same time. They had a pack of 100 cocktail sticks and a bag of midget gems and had to create the best bridge they could that would allow a 10 stack of multilink cubes to pass underneath. I got our Resource Manager to judge the bridges based on: structure, stability, design and adherence to the given criteria (free standing, multilink stack has to pass under).
Here are some of the bridges that were made...

 The winning bridge!! With a little help from my Y8 helpers!

The day ran very well with all schools seemingly enjoying their day at 'big school'. It was a hot day and so the students were given a couple of breaks in the day (at different times to our usual school day: I was off timetable and covered). They went outside at one point and played on our flagpole area at the front of the school, which they enjoyed.
The day came to a close when I had totalled up the scores and announced the winners. Every student that participated received a certificate and chose between a pen with our school's logo/name on it or a little 'book bug' to take back with them as a memento (hopefully they'll remember us when it comes to them choosing their secondary school)! The winners each received a small gift, which was a 'Minions' wristband and lolly - these went down very well!

These days are a lot of hard work to organise and run, but are so worth it. The links we have with our local feeder schools are stronger as a result of it and I've heard lovely comments already from our community by friends of colleagues, etc. I wasn't without help when organising the day either and have to thank Jo, our faculty assistant for liaising with our primaries throughout, getting names and details. She printed and made all the certificates and name badges, contacted the office etc at our school to inform them all of the day taking place, arranged the refreshments and so so much more that I'm probably not aware of. So...THANK YOU JO!! I also need to comment on how fantastic and enthusiastic our Y8 helpers were too. They were brilliant. We chose the students that were our Maths prefects and also some others from one of my colleagues' tutor groups. They did our school proud and the Y2 kids really appreciated their help throughout the day.

If you're planning a similar day at your school it would be great to hear from you. What sort of tasks do you do at your days? How to you organise the days, etc. Get in touch my commenting below or find me on Twittter @mrprcollins

Here's to another fantastic Y2 Problem Solving Day in 2016!

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