A week with %%% problems

Have been tackling % word problems and these are some of the issues that surface :

  1.  Like to think for whatever number given in the question 100%

They are not really thinking about the question. Have tried to get them to use the 5Rs they had learning in the workshop (Read, Reflect, Recreate, Reduce, Revise) . Need to emphasize this over and over again.  The next thing I am going to do is to get them to repeatedly always ask themselves : What  represent 100%?

2. Solving for 1%

100% –> 200

1% —> 100/200

Trying to get them to see it by asking them : How you get to 1% (Divide by 100)? So, you have to do the similar operation with 200.

3. Inaccurate results

At the intermediate steps, they give their answer to 2 decimal place and use this answer to derive the final answer. The final answer may be inaccurate due to loss of accuracy in the intermediate  steps.  Remind them to always leave the answer as fraction in the intermediate steps

The progress has been slow but I do see some improvement in the students’ work.  Through % problems, I am trying to get them in the habit of think more about the problem. Such habit is important as the students would generally just “whack any numbers they like”.   To me, this is one of their most “potent” weakness which causes them to perform badly in Maths.


Using SeeSaw

I have been using See Saw lately with my maths class.

Currently, I am using that to highlight students’ error and showcase students’ work. It is actually no much different from doing on their worked example book.  Except that you can showcase your work publicly for your class to see. From my observation, it seems that pupils were more energized to do their work now.  I also get to see the students’ work at one go and have some inkling where their gaps are.

How I am using SeeSaw:

  1. Error Analysis – Show the student’s error and get them to see what is wrong
  2. Use this platform to  praise students.




With Constancy and Purpose

That is my secondary school motto and it has served me well for my past 30+ years.  It is the start of Term 2 and I must continue to do things with constancy and purpose. I must not lose sight of what I wish to do for my students. I should try not to fall back to “pouring-knowledge” mode. It is not going to be easy but I am going to press on.

Here are things in store for them:

  1. Mathematics

Getting them to use SeeSaw to showcase what they has learned for the week (Will do so weekly)

2. Science

  • Focus on explaining answers with hands-on activities.  The structure of their “explanation ” should be:
  1. Data/Observations from the question
  2. Unpack scientific concept relevant  to the given question .  Use “so-what” to make sure the final statement can link back to the question
  • Provide opportunities for them to check their peers’ answers.  This means I must let them know the success criteria and what is a good answer.





Item Analysis – What do we do with it?

After exam, we would typically asked to do item analysis. What is the purpose? Or is it just another paper exercise for reporting?

To me, if item analysis is just mainly for reporting purpose, then we can forget about it.  What for if it is for reporting and no follow up action? Or the follow up action is just merely exercising your mouth muscles (e.g. No-Action-Talk-Only) . I would then ask a very simple question “What for?”.

We might as well save our time and do more meaningful things. I see it happening most of the time and it really ends up a paper exercise. I admit I am one of these teachers who did that.  I basically trust my “gut” feeling rather than data.

But, with my post-graduate studies, I now had a different way of looking at item analysis. I really look at the data and see if there is any recurring theme. I even looked at the mistakes and tried to see a pattern. So, far this is what I had gathered so far:

P6 Science

  • Use of superlatives to compare more than two objects
  • Not using data given to support their answer
  • Difficulty in grasping the concept between gravitational force and gravitational energy
  • Not giving detailed explanation
  • Weak in applying concepts in completely new novel situation

P6 Maths

  • Not enough time to complete Paper 1 due to lack of factual fluency
  • Need able to use models to solve word problems.


P4 Science

  • Weak in applying concepts in completely new novel situation
  • Difficulty in the concept of definite shape and definite volume