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The Maths in the School Grounds FlashMeeting Project

 An innovative project for Years 4, 5 and 6 Pupils


The Flashmeeting Memo Board enables pupils to write and record their ideas on the classroom Interactive Whiteboard during a "live" web conference.


Launched in autumn 2009, pupils in six Kent primary schools used digital cameras to photograph mathematical problems outside the classroom. Back in class they were set the challenge to select the best ten digital photographs and for each design a mathematical problem. The task completed the digital photographs were then uploaded and stored on “The FlashMeeting Memo Board” ready for their peers to view. 


Flashmeeting web conferences were then booked and the pupils given the opportunity to display their chosen images. Each scheduled web conference lasted approximately 30 minutes. During the session the “Maths Champions” would display 10 to 15 images for their peers to view. Each image would be accompanied by a question. Pupils would be given 3 to 5 minutes to solve the problem. During that time questions could be asked and help given.


At the end of the session the web conference was replayed and paused at intervals to enable pupils to review and discuss their work. Comments added would be posted by the teacher in the FlashMeeting summary box. The session finished the edited FlashMeeting was then saved by the teacher for pupils and staff to replay and view again at a later date


Why use web conferencing to develop pupil’s mathematical skills and understanding?


The Maths in the School Grounds project was a wonderful opportunity for Key Stage 2 pupils to use FlashMeeting to:


  • Display pictorial and written problems on an Interactive Whiteboard for their peers to solve
  •  Plan and pursue an enquiry
  •  Suggest extensions to an enquiry
  •  Solve one-step and two-step problems involving whole numbers, shapes and units   of measurement
  •  Present information
  •  Explain reasoning using diagrams, graphs, symbols and text



What the teachers and pupils had to say about the project


Our group of Maths Champions were set the task to take photographs of “Maths in the School Grounds and to create questions for their peers to answer. The FlashMeeting involved linking computers in the Years 5 and 6 Classroom and the school computer suite. The session lasted just over 40 minutes.


Following the activity staff interviewed the “Maths Champions” who created the questions and the Years 5 and 6 pupils who solved the problems. Read what they had to say about the activity.


The Years 5 and 6 Pupils

The overall consensus was that the experience was enjoyable and motivating because it was novel. There was mixed opinion about the level of difficulty of the questions (not surprising as the class is very mixed ability), though they did feel that everyone participated, and that this was positive. They almost unanimously agreed that they would like the opportunity to be the ones setting the questions. They thought it was good Maths practice and, for the more able ones, good revision.


Maths Champions:

Very much enjoyed the experience, in particular watching the replay. They particularly liked the questions where we drew on the board, as this made the most of the technology we were using.



Undoubtedly the experience was positive for all the participants. The problem solvers were motivated by the technology to engage in the activity, and, significantly, had to verbalise their reasoning. They were all involved in discussing afterwards what did and did not make a good question. For the Champions, this was a wonderful opportunity to challenge these more able pupils in a variety of ways – identifying potentially useful images, developing questions around them, acquiring and practicing the necessary ICT skills, communicating their mathematical thinking to their peers, evaluating the questions and considering criteria for developing further questions.


What do we need to improve?

Some pupils commented that the pace of the lesson was a little slow. To resolve this maybe the Problem Solvers needed to work in groups? Working in groups would allow the able mathematicians to feedback their answers and work on the next problem instead of stay seated waiting for others to finish. To add pace to the activity we will need to consider the level and type of questions to ensure momentum (something for Champions to consider when developing next set of problems.) This could involve setting multi-part questions for all to attempt? Finally, many of the negative points mentioned could be addressed by there being fewer participants, of similar ability levels, which bodes well for the intended final activity of the project, linking small groups of able pupils in the different schools.


Lin Gauthier – Brook Primary



“Using FlashMeeting was not difficult. All you had to remember was when to use the start broadcasting button and load snapshot buttons to talk and display your photographs on the screen.”


“I liked the activity because it was new and different. Seeing the photographs on the screen helped me solve the problems.”


“We did lots of maths. Lots of problems about counting numbers and spotting 2 and 3 D shapes!


“Some of the problems were hard. It helped being able to work with others. Talking to my friends I was able to finish all the questions.”


“Some of the questions were very hard. In the questions with the leaves I had to do lots of multiplication sums.”


“It was good in the replay watching others.”


“Watching the FlashMeeting replay was great! We could see where we had gone wrong.”


Walmer Class – Hamstreet Primary




To find out more about this exciting activity and how you can use web conferencing to help accurately assess and develop pupil’s mathematical skills and understanding download the full report or click on the URL links below.



This report was compiled and published by:


Phil Bracegirdle – ASK ICT Hands on Support Consultant