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Girls and Mathematics. St Augustine’s School Danson School Parkway School. Feb – March 2009. St Augustine’s School. Target group: Three girls in Year 6 who show low levels of confidence and concentration skills in Maths lessons, and whose progress is limited.

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girls and mathematics

Girls and Mathematics

St Augustine’s School

Danson School

Parkway School

Feb – March 2009

St Augustine’s School
  • Target group: Three girls in Year 6 who show low levels of confidence and concentration skills in Maths lessons, and whose progress is limited.
  • Aim: To fully engage the girls in a “worded problem” activity using girl friendly questions and collaborative group work.
Strategies used
  • Whole Year 6 class split into boys only and girls only groups, three children in each group.
  • Girls and boys given different, differentiated, gender related questions.
  • Children encouraged to work collaboratively to sort and order information before solving the problem.
  • Mini plenaries to ensure girls understood what to do, knew they were on the right track and had a range of strategies to use.

The girls’ comments

  • I enjoyed it because the topics were interesting e.g. clothes, Dancing on Ice
  • You could really get on today –girls work well together
  • It was good that it was about things you knew about
  • The boys couldn’t take over
  • A SATs Maths paper based on High School Musical would be good!
Our perception
  • Where the girls were working on separate tables to boys they were all busy, engaged in learning and taking part in discussions.
  • They seemed more confident in taking the lead role in turn and sorting the cards according to their relevance to the maths problem
  • The girls related well to problems about their interests or experience because it seemed to help them understand, and therefore solve, the problem.
Danson School

Target group : A group of four Year 6 girls who have low levels of confidence and concentration in Maths lessons working between levels 3C and 3A at present.

Aim : to teach the girls how to estimate an angle and use a protractor to measure the angle accurately.

Strategies Used
  • Guided group work with the four girls only,
  • Practical experience using a range of equipment
  • “Girl friendly” resources (angles with pictures and cute images on posters)
Plan of Guided group session

1. Hands on session, rotating sticks, to help the children estimate and compare angles. Girl friendly posters with images that they might remember.

2. Teach use of protractors, girls using IWB

3. Practise use of protractors using angles in pictures of clothes.

4. Apply skills to a L4 testbase question.


The girls said

“You could say what you thought – it didn’t matter if you got it wrong because there weren’t any boys to notice”

“ Boys can take over”

“It was good using the protractor on the IWB – that helped me to use my protractor.”

“I liked the pictures”.

Our perceptions

The girls were involved, were willing to “have a go” and discuss their ideas in front of each other. Although they will all need more practice to become confident using a protractor, they were able to apply the skills learnt to a L4 testbase question at the end of the session.

parkway school
Parkway School
  • Target group – Year 5 group of girls making limited progress with Maths.

Aim : to find an appropriate activity to engage the girls and help them gain confidence in finding the area of complex shapes.

what the girls wanted to do
What the girls wanted to do….
  • Do a practical activity
  • Work in a group
  • Be able to share ideas but also be able to get on with an activity.
  • To paper a wall in school using either Hannah Montana or bright pink wallpaper.
our strategies
Our strategies
  • to work with a girls only group
  • to plan a lesson based on what the girls had told us about how they learnt best and what they were interested in.
  • To work collaboratively on a practical, motivating task
  • To evaluate whether the girls were able to apply their skills to a paper based question about area of complex shapes
The girls comments"It didn't feel like we were doing Maths""We actually had to do lots of Maths in the end""I like working in a small group""This is better than a worksheet because it's real""I didn't feel rushed and you listened to me""It's important that it goes up right 'cos everyone is going to walk past and look at it""Everyone knows it's our work""I feel a bit OK about doing area now"The teacher’s perceptions
common threads
Common Threads…
  • The girls in the study feel strongly that they like to work away from boys in Maths lessons, they feel they can concentrate better and say they are more confident to share their ideas and participate.
  • Where girls were talking to each other in lessons during the project, they were actively participating in learning.
  • Girls enjoy a practical, hands on approach to Maths and often show they can apply the skills learnt in this practical manner.
  • Girls like lessons to relate to their own interests and experience and this does seem to have an impact on their level of involvement with a task.