Module code: MAT3017

Module Overview

The purpose of this module is to introduce students to aspects of mathematical education through practical classroom experience in a local school and to reflect on this through a coursework assignment, the preparation of a special project related to their placement, and a final report.

Module provider


Module Leader

SKERRITT Paul (Computer Sci)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 4

Independent Learning Hours: 144

Practical/Performance Hours: 4

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

There are no prerequisites, but there are only a limited number of places available. Students will be selected by an interview process that will take place for towards the end of Semester 2 of the preceding academic year.  This module cannot be taken together with the BSc Mathematics Project (MAT3019), or the Literature Review (MAT3018/MAT3036). This module is NOT available to those who have done teacher training; nor is it available to students who are part of an exchange programme.

Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • Training and basic skills The students will be given an initial introduction to relevant elements of the National Science Curriculum and its associated terminology, (eg 'Key Stage 3' etc.). They will receive a half day of basic training in working with children and conduct in the school environment, and will be given a chance to visit the school they will be working in before commencement of the module.

  • Classroom observation and assistance Initial contact with the teacher and pupils will be as a classroom assistant, watching how the teacher handles the class, observing the level of mathematics taught and the structure of the lesson, and offering practical support to the teacher in lesson preparation or administrative work.

  • Teaching assistance The teacher will assign the student actual teaching tasks, which will be dependent on specific needs. This could include offering problem-solving coaching to a smaller group of pupils, or taking the last ten minutes of the lesson for the whole class.

  • Extra-curricular activities The student may be supervised by the teacher in running an out-of-timetable activity (if appropriate), such as an after-school maths club or special coaching periods for higher ability students.

  • Special project Following discussion with the teacher as to what would be appropriate, each student will devise a special project that will interest or be of use to the particular pupils they are working with, be it as part of a maths club or part of the day-to-day teaching of mathematics. The student will have to show that they can analyse a specific teaching problem and devise and prepare appropriately targeted teaching materials and basic tests.

  • Written report The students will be required to keep a journal of their progress in working in the classroom environment and to write a critical report of between  1000 and 1500  words based on this journal. The special project materials will also be submitted, some of which may be written.

  • Mathematics education essay The students will also be expected to undertake background reading and write a carefully-argued extended essay (2-3000 words) related to the learning and teaching of mathematics. This will be supervised by the Departmental Contact. A title should be agreed between the student and the Departmental Contact before the Easter break in Semester 2. For example, past essays have considered:

    • Does the use of IT and the internet in the classroom aid the learning of mathematics?

    • Attitudes to mathematics and how they can be improved.

    • A critical analysis of ‘written methods’ used in the National Curriculum to teach basic numeracy skills.

    • How should calculators be used in mathematics education?

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework ESSAY 30
Coursework WRITTEN REPORT 20

Alternative Assessment

The Individual presentation would, where necessary, be replaced by the submission of a detailed lesson plan together with a rationale for its creation and delivery.  The Placement assessment and/or the Final report would be replaced by a coursework assignment of the module convenor’s choice.   The weightings for these alternative assessments remain the same.

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate

·         Understanding of the role of a mathematics teacher  

·         Subject knowledge through the coursework assignment and report

·         Communication and teaching skills through the individual presentation and through classroom experience



Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

·         A short written report (worth 20%, of between 1000 and 1500 words; typically due towards the end of Semester 2)

·         An extended essay on a topic in mathematics education  (worth 30%,  of between 2000 and 3000 words; deadline is typically after the Easter break in Semester 2)

·         An individual presentation describing a special project undertaken at the placement school  (worth 20%; due typically towards the end of Semester 2)

·         A placement assessment provided by the supervising teacher at the host school and moderated by the module convenor and one other academic (worth 30%) 



Formative assessment and feedback


Students receive formative feedback on a continual basis from their host school supervising teacher.   In addition,  formative feedback and guidance is available on the essay,  report and presentation  from  the module convenor at a weekly office hour, or by appointment as necessary.

Module aims

  • provide an opportunity for final-year students to gain first hand experience of mathematics education through a mentoring scheme with mathematics teachers in local primary or secondary schools.   Typically, each student will work with a range of classes for half a day every week for 10 weeks.
  • enable students to reflect on their experiences in school through coursework assignment and report writing.
  • give students a range of responsibilities, from classroom assistant to the organisation and teaching of a self-originated special project. Only a limited number of places are available and students will be selected on the basis of their commitment and suitability for working in schools.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Understand the key roles of a class teacher in terms of preparation and delivery of teaching materials,  pupil management and in dealing with teaching colleagues KCT
2 Communicate mathematical ideas and practical skills to pupils in the classroom, both on a one-to-one basis as well as to a larger audience as appropriate KCT
3 Plan, research and deliver an educational activity based on the needs of the school, and to communicate the results of this activity to their peers KCPT
4 Plan,  research, write and correctly reference an extended essay on a topic related to mathematics education KCPT
5 Reflect constructively on their experience in the classroom and on the feedback  they receive from pupils and teachers alike CPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

  • Provide an introduction to and practical experience of the roles and responsibilities of a mathematics teacher.

  • Enable students to independently research and reflect on wider topics in mathematics education, and to give practice at communicating their ideas to teachers, pupils and peers.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • 1  x  4 hour Practical training before going in to the placement school.

  • 10 x weekly placement school visits of approximately 3 hours.

  • 2 x 1 hour Workshops on research, referencing and essay writing.

  • Meetings as appropriate with the departmental contact to agree an essay title and to give practical guidance on the special project and presentation.


Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: MAT3017

Other information

Please note that there may be some travel costs associated with attending the placement school.   Students are expected to cover the first £60 of any such costs;  where a student's reasonable travel costs exceed £60 by £X, say, then the department normally reimburses students £X.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Mathematics and Physics BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Mathematics with Statistics BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Mathematics BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Mathematics and Physics MPhys 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Mathematics and Physics MMath 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Mathematics MMath 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Mathematics with Music BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Financial Mathematics BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2019/0 academic year.