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Tackling your first Investigation for the year

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Tackling your first Investigation for the year

iMaths 17/2/20


Note: iMaths is in its final year and will be discontinued at the end of 2024. If you’re looking for a primary maths resource written for the Australian Curriculum Version 9.0, explore Maths Trek.

Whether you’re about to tackle your first Investigation for the year, or embark on your first Investigation ever, we’ve got some handy tools, tips and reminders to help you along the way. Ready, set, investigate!

Start with iPlanner

If you haven’t already set up your yearly plan, log in to iMaths Online and use iPlanner to organise your Investigations. You can use the sample plans or create your own. There’s even an option to share your plan as a template with your colleagues.

Refer to the Investigations Overviews to help choose suitable Investigations for you and your class.

Reminder: When you drag an Investigation into a term within iPlanner, it includes the prerequisite Topics within the suggested duration block. Even though it’s grouped as one block, it’s important to teach the Topics prior to completing the Investigation. Working through Topics will take up the bulk of the allocated time. The Investigation itself may only take a couple of days to complete.

Lay the groundwork

To help you prepare for an Investigation, log in to iMaths Online and read through About the Investigation which, among other things, lists the printable and concrete materials needed to complete the Investigation. Then, read the Investigation Teaching Plan, which explains how to conduct the Investigation.

Tip: Now is a great time to sort your students into groups for the Investigation. Depending on your preferences, you may assign same-ability or mixed-ability groups. Want more ideas on group work in Investigations? Read our article The secret to effective group work.

Introduce the Investigation

Although the Investigation won’t take place until after the Topics have been taught, you still want to get students excited about what’s ahead.

Use the projectable Introduce the Investigation slideshow at iMaths Online to give students an insight into the context of the Investigation and prompt a whole-class discussion. Students can also refer to this content in their Student Books.

Teach the Topics

Now that students know they are working towards an Investigation, the prerequisite Topics become much more meaningful. Use the teaching resources available at iMaths Online to support your explicit teaching of each of these Topics, including:

  • Teaching Plan
  • projectable Learning Intention
  • projectable slideshow to teach and model the concept covered in the Topic.

After you teach each Topic, students can consolidate their knowledge with the activities in their Student Books. There’s also a set of three Differentiation Tasks to support, consolidate or extend student learning.

Tip: Create opportunities to use hands-on material or your other favourite teaching resources to enhance the learning of the Topic.

Discuss the Rubric

Once all the Topics have been taught, it is time to get back to the Investigation. Hand out a copy of the Rubric to each student. Use the Discuss the Rubric slideshow to explain the role of the Rubric in the Investigation, including:

  • how the rows in the Rubric align with the Investigation steps
  • the weighting of the different rows.

Discuss the criteria in the Ability to… column, and ask your students to match each of the criteria to the steps of the Investigation by completing the Step column.

Tip: Use the Editable Rubrics to adjust the scope of Investigations or the marking criteria to suit your school’s assessment requirements. Find the Editable Rubrics in the Preparation and Planning section of iMaths Online.

Conduct the Investigation

It’s time to investigate! To get started, hand out an Investigation Plan for each student to complete (only applicable for Years 3–6). Then, display the Student Pages for the Investigation and read through the steps as a class. Use the Focus questions (available within the Investigation Teaching Plan) to ensure students understand what they are being asked to do.

Observe, prompt and assist students as they work through the steps of the Investigation. You can use questioning to inspire critical thinking in the classroom without giving the solutions away. For example, simple questions like ‘How do you know …?’ or ‘What would happen if …?’ can get students to pause, think and get back on the right track.

Fast finishers can complete the Inquiry in their Student Book to extend their learning.

Tip: Your students may find their first Investigation a little challenging. You can offer some additional guidance by leading the Investigation and completing it as a class. Students will still apply their maths and problem-solving skills in the Using maths and Reasoning and reporting steps.

Assess the Investigation

After you’ve completed the Investigation, use the Rubric to assess students’ work. First, review the Understanding, Fluency and Problem Solving rows to evaluate the maths that’s been applied. Keep in mind that students may have completed these tasks as a group.

Next, review the Reasoning row/s – remember, this row will always be an individual assessment. Use the Communicating and reflecting questions in the Investigation Teaching Plan to help assess each student’s reasoning skills.

Reminder: Place greater emphasis on the results in the Reasoning section as they involve complex reflection and justification.

Assess the Topics

After you’ve completed an Investigation, it’s time to schedule a review of the concepts covered in the Topics. As students have had a chance to learn and apply these concepts in several contexts, you will get a more comprehensive overview of their knowledge and understanding. You can use the corresponding Topic pages in the Tracker Book for your review. Each Tracker Book Topic page is conveniently divided into two groups – Know and Apply – so you can review both basic understanding and higher-order thinking skills of the concepts covered.

Finish by making connections

Display the Making Connections questions from iMaths Online to encourage students to apply what they have learned in the Investigation to everyday situations. Discussion about the questions provides great closure to an Investigation and can also serve as a springboard into other learning areas.

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