Why attend a maths conference?

Thursday 27th May 2021

This year I attended the ATM Conference online. Each year I think about the timing – the ATM Conference and the MA Conference are always held on three days during the Easter break. So why, over the years, have I given up Saturdays, evenings and time at Easter to attend professional development sessions, networks and conferences?

This one is easy: I learn so much, and in a supportive environment with enthusiastic colleagues and presenters! I always come away with some maths to think about and some teaching activities or strategies to try, and I feel re-invigorated by the buoyancy from the group. And, of course, I leave with recommendations of books to read that I didn’t even know I needed until someone in one of the sessions showed me what I was missing.

The maths that hurt my head this year included John Mason showing polynomials in GeoGebra and asking me to visualise reflections (I could do that bit!) and then rotations, and think about when they stopped being functions. Experiencing the maths from the point of view of the stuck student, unpicking what I was learning about the graphs, reminded me how important it is to give processing time and for students to be able to sketch and manipulate for themselves.

For my understanding of manipulatives, I learnt yet more about the potential of Cuisenaire with the very amusing Ray Helme and Mariella Carbone. There was time for inspirational fun too, exploring Islamic patterns with Samira Mian and attempting origami with Tung Ken Lam and Sue Pope.

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If you missed the ATM 2021 Conference, you can still register and gain access to every recorded session on the ATM websiteOpens a new window.

Looking forward, why not sign up for the MEI Conference 2021Opens a new window? It will run online over 9 and 10 July 2021 and is free to attend, although you can ask your school to donate to support MEIOpens a new window’s charitable work. You can choose from 32 workshops that span KS2 to KS5 – and, of course, one about the maths of the pandemic! Make sure to follow MEI on Twitter @MEIMathsOpens a new window #MEIConf2021Opens a new window to keep up with the latest news.

Don't forgot to also explore the wide range of events that the AMSP offers, covering subject knowledge, pedagogy, and a whole host of other practical resources and ideas!

By Christine Watson

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