Saturday, 8 October 2016

Open Evening

Open Evening is always a busy night on the school's calendar and this year was no exception. We had an extremely good turnout this year and the buzz around the school was great. We had lots of our students supporting the evening and attached to different departments for the evening, some were tour guides for our prospective year 5 and 6 parents and others were welcoming parents to the school and on 'car-parking duty'!
We were lucky to have the same 8 students who supported me with the Y6 Problem Solving Day supporting us in Mathematics, plus one other student who was selected to help out on her request.

The Year 5 and 6 parents were shown around the school on the usual route, coming through 2 of our Mathematics classrooms to see some of Y7 work and take part in some activities whilst meeting the department and asking us any questions they may have had.

I haven't written about what we do at Open Evening (or PPE as some call it) and so I thought I'd share what we did this year...

Since I have taught at my school we have always displayed the Y7 Average Student work. This is the first unit of work in our Y7 scheme of work and is what our newest students do each year on starting. They have to collect data about their peers in their new form groups and then work out averages from the data and choose suitable graphs/diagrams to represent their data before writing their own conclusions of their results. This has worked well in the past and it gives the students an opportunity to survey each other, helping them get to know one another. Each class's work is put on display across 2 tables (placed atop other tables).
My colleagues each set out their class' work on the large sugar paper sheets given to them. Work was checked for accuracy and spellings, etc before going up on display.
The work gives the prospective students and their parents an idea of the standard of work produced by Y7 in the first few weeks in Mathematics. They then get set based on our school's baseline assessments and data from the Primary Schools.
In the other room we have lots of Mathsy activities for parents and students to have a go at. The first of which was the Darts challenge. Given 6 darts students/parents were challenged to get a score of more than or equal to 100.
Students were encouraged to mentally add their own scores, which were verified by our supporting Y9 students. If they added correctly and got 100 or more they grabbed themselves a sweet for their efforts.

This dart board is the one I have in my classroom as I often use it for rewards when students have finished work or personally when freshening up my mental Mathematics/getting out my frustrations prior to a class arriving!

There's a fantastic dart board investigation resource on the TES I have done a few times too, nearer the end of the school year, that is worth a look. Check it out here. Every Mathematics classroom needs a dartboard in my view!

The good ol' Horse Race. For those who don't roll two dice add the scores on the dice together and that's the numbered 'horse' that moves forward one square in the grid. You keep going until one horse makes it out of the grid. The students/parents/student helpers are the 'horses' and I/the student helpers roll the two large foam dice to generate the numbers. Lots of fun and engagement from our visitors and throughout the rolling (the dice take a while to stop) we have lots of discussions around which 'horse' should win, which is most likely, which 'horse' can't win and why, etc. I use a random dice generator website on my iPad to speed up the rolling! The large dice are there to emphasise that a 6 on the first dice and a 4 on the second is a different outcome to a 4 on the first dice and a 6 on the second, etc.

Higher or Lower!
The standard 'Generation Game' higher or lower activity where students/parents get given a card (on the far left) and they have to then choose whether the card to the right of it will be higher or lower than that card. If they get all the way to the right end of the table they get a prize.
This gets them thinking about the cards that are higher or lower than the one they're on and what the chances are of them getting it right. Of course, they also have a chance of getting the same card and therefore losing either way.
Mathematical board games. Over the summer holidays students were all given 'Summer Work' to do. Our Y8 students going into Year 9 were tasked with creating their own Mathematical board game based around Time. These were some of our favourite games that were produced and so we thought it only right that they be displayed at Open Evening for others to see and have a go at.
Some students, including those chosen here, put in a lot of effort with their 'Summer Work' and you could easily see hours of work that had gone into their games.
The Frogs Problem is one I have used lots at our Y2 Problem Solving days, but the frogs are also great to look at and were well placed here too. The students and parents were tasked with moving the green frogs to the right lily pads and the purple frogs to the left lily pads by only sliding a frog to a vacant lily pad or hoping a frog over a frog of the opposite colour. The shortest number of moves to correctly swap the frogs over creates a nice sequence when increasing/decreasing the number of frogs on either side of the central lily pad. Although the work on the generation of the sequence and the nth term of said sequence is probably too advanced for Y6 students it shows that from a simple task/activity it can lead to some quite high Mathematics.
I had to investigate the frogs problem on my GTP course and so I like that it has it's place at our open evening. What I should do next time, is dig out my old coursework on it to display alongside it for any parents/students that are curious as to what I'm rambling on about when I start talking about sequences!

So that's what we did at Open Evening this year amongst talking to students and parents. This, of course, was the most rewarding part of the evening - talking to our prospective parents and students. It was also great to see some familiar faces with our y11s that left last year showing up throughout the evening to say hello, and thank you for helping them get their C+ grades, etc. It made the long day worthwhile!

It would be great to hear what other schools did for their Open Evenings this year. Our Science department were dissecting stuff and blowing things trying to compete with that is always going to be tricky, plus all the student helpers end up down in PE doing sports! I think we did good and like I said at the start of this post...there's definitely a buzz around our school at the moment!


  1. Congratulations on an excellent set of displays and activities! I was wondering where you got the frogs and lily pads? They are adorable.

  2. One of my colleagues, one of our cover supervisors, made them all for me. She runs a craft club for the kids after school too!
    Thanks for your kind words, Paul.

  3. Glad to see that your open day was a success and we very much love the activities you had on offer. They're so good, we've included them on our Pinterest board specifically for lesson or games ideas.

    Keep up the sterling work,
    James M