Mathematician's Workshop

As I mentioned in my September post, I spent a significant amount of time in the summer revamping my Math 9 course. With an idea and the guidance of a math leader in our system, I created a Mathematician's Workshop. 

Every lesson is run over 2 days broken into 4 blocks (Teacher-led, Math by Myself, Math with Someone, and Math Technology). 

Teacher-led instruction looks exactly like how you picture math to be taught. I do lots of mini whiteboards to spice it up. What are mini whiteboards?  Every student is given a small whiteboard and dry erase marker. They are then asked a question (like "-3 - 5", during our integer unit, or "Find the surface area of a cube with side length 8" in our square roots and surface area unit). Students then do their work on the board. Sometimes, like in the first question, there is only a answer. Other times, like in the 2nd question, there is some work to be shown. After an appropriate amount of time I ask students to flash me their boards (making sure not to forget the "your boards" part). With a quick glance, I get to quickly assess how students are making out. I can see if they understand a concept as a group, or if there is just a couple of students I need to touch base with. Students honestly love these boards and markers. Like way more than you would even think!

In Math by Myself, students do practice out of the textbook. Boring, you might think, but I recently did a survey with my students about the Mathematician's Workshop and this was by far the favorite station. 

Math with Someone has been the most work to plan. Some of these activities include scavenger hunts, math puzzles, color by number sheets, and math tic-tac-toe to name a few. There has been a learning curve with these. My learning curve has included how long games take to play and the students' learning curve has included reading instructions and working without teacher guidance to figure out the activity. 

Math Technology was a lot of work at the beginning because I had to find all the content on Khan Academy (This is free and a great place to go if your child is struggling. Lots of videos to watch). Khan Academy is American so doesn't line up with our curriculum so I begged and pleaded for Mathletics accounts for my students (these cost $) and my wish was granted. Mathletics is amazing. Calder's school subscribes and he LOVES it. It is better aligned to our curriculum and is set up teacher and student friendly. The survey I gave students about the Workshop was before Mathletics was implemented. I am curious to see if this new platform gets better reviews from them.

Implementing this workshop has been amazing. Lots of bumps, but so much learning! It is great to have my intern to help implement and work out the kinks with.  I still struggle with the transition piece, but am constantly working on it. If you teach in a similar way, I would love to trade notes with you!  Particularly if it is in Math 9 and even more particularly if it is Math 9 in Saskatchewan!

I am having fun and looking forward to continuing to refine my workshop in 2nd semester. 


  1. ha- I read that title as a Mathmagician's Workshop.

  2. I would love to discuss further with how things are going - especially the Mathletics part...we looked at these but didn't know how they would align for grade 9's. I have done flex groupings with my 9's in the past so have created some activities, but it was set up a little different from how you have described. Definitely interests me to chat about it! Send me an email - Maybe we can share some ideas!


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