Lesson 5 Sam and the newspaper

Episode 2

Reasoning Resources: Worksheets 1 and 3. Enlarged extract from newspaper article (or Worksheet 2). Worksheet 4 on board or OHT
Whole class preparation: findings so far
Shift of pupils’ attention to group comparisons in profile. Ideas on possible reasons for an unexpected outcome. Posing new hypothesis. Review the work so far with the class: what the hypothesis was, how the class decided to test it, how they did the testing with the 20 words from two sources, and a summary of the outcomes of comparisons and why they are unexpected. Drawing a rough line around the tallies shows the comparison between the two texts. Typical reasons may include special features in the story:

  • lots of easy, long words,
  • names are easy,
  • deliberate long words to teach them.
  • Focusing on the sample:
    how representative it is and
    how big should it be.
    Also special features in the newspaper text, e.g. why there are more three-letters words, or one-letter words, or a single 6 letter word. The dominance of ‘the’ and connectives like ‘and’, ‘but, ‘are’ and ‘for’ in most writing may be recognised. Comparison using article on Worksheet 2. Focus on the idea that the two 20-word texts may not have something special about them. Was this a fair comparison? How could we make it fairer? Move on to take more words. Suggest looking at 80 more words {in two batches of 40) so that we compare 100 words from each text. Agree on the two lots of 40 words from each of the two texts.
    Pair work- collaborative data collection
    Split the class into 2 groups - Group 1 to work on Jimmy's story and Group 2 to work on the newspaper text. Within the groups ask each pair to record the lengths of the 2 sets of 40 wards from their text. To save time, pairs of pairs could share the work, so that one pair does one set of 40 only, then exchange results. You may wish to give groups an OHT each to copy their results on, for the whole class to see later.
    Whole class sharing on two new samples
    How important is an error in counting? Younger pupils normally worry about accuracy in maths lessons, while older pupils would accept that a small error would not change the overall picture. Samples give different answers, but larger samples are somewhat better and nearer to each other. Let groups show their results for their batches of 40 words. The groups who have recorded the same part of the text should check each others’ results. Briefly discuss any discrepancies. There are bound to be some recording errors and the question. How important is the error? is worth asking. Mention that it is important to be accurate, but also that a small error in counting would not change the overall picture much, i.e. that errors are relative in data handling. Record their ideas on how different or similar the two new samples are, and how they compare to the first 20-word sample.

    What do you notice? What do you think about this? They should recognise that the texts in the larger samples are now nearer to each other in both the mode and range or spread. Focus their attention on the mode and spread (or range) of each sample, and any special other features, e.g. extreme cases or double modes. The class is now ready to look at all the samples together.


    Thinking Mathematics Lessons Copyright © by Michael Shayer and Mundher Adhami. All Rights Reserved.

    Share This Book