Group work is a via-media between class teaching and the individual’s independent work. Since individual methods of work are almost impossibility under the circumstances and class teaching does not fulfill the purposes of modern education, we have to strike a via-media in the form of group work. Group work aims at securing the advantages of individualized instruction retaining at the same time the economic and socially advantageous way of teaching the students together. The class is a very large and unmanageable group, whereas the group formed in the class will be small and manageable. The class is a heterogeneous group and suffers from sharp individual differences, whereas the group as such will be more homogeneous. In group-formation, the class is divided into smaller groups according to abilities and interests of the pupils. The unit becomes smaller and so greater individual attention can be paid. Over-individualism is also avoided. Children work under group feeling and there is more of cooperation, homogeneity and healthy competition.
In mathematics, there is ample scope of group work. In early stages, oral drill is conducted generally in groups. The mathematical tables are recited by the students in groups. The students may voluntarily engage in group work for doing their home-work. They pool their resources and thus complete the assignment jointly which none of them may be capable to do single-handed.
In case a teacher teaches by activities, projects, assignment or practical work, the students find many opportunities of group work. The collection of some mathematical data from the field may also necessitate joint effort on the part of a group of students. Similarly visit to a place for having some mathematical benefit will be fruitful only if a number of students join to study different mathematical aspects of the institution or place visited. Preparation of a mathematical model or some other mathematical instrument or material will also require a group of students to work on cooperation. If the mathematics room is to be decorated and equipped for the subject, it will be a group work for the students.
The teacher should keep in mind the following points while using group work as a technique:
- Group should be homogeneous as far as possible in the matter of intelligence and level of achievement.
- The leaders, monitors, or dominating type students should not be allowed to monopolies the group work. Every member must get the due share of the activity.
- The purpose of group work should be adequately clear to every member in order to ensure equal responsibility and effort.
- The group should not be unwieldy in size. The number of its members should be commensurate with the work in hand. There should not be any rigidity about the membership of a group. The allotment of students to different groups should be a flexible affair.
- It does not imply that competition accompanies every group work. This role of competition need not be stretched too far. Group work should generate spirit of cooperation more than the spirit of competition.
- The best age in which group work can be most profitable is the gang-age from eight to twelve years.
- Elizabeth Cohen lists a set of skills related to working collaboratively which the following is based upon:
- Asking questions – making sense of your own understanding
- Explaining by telling how and why
- Helping others – by responding to their needs
- Helping others – to do things for themselves
- Sharing knowledge and reasoning
- Finding out what others think – asking for, listening to and making sense of their ideas
- Reflecting on and making use of what has been said
- Being concise – communicating thinking
- Giving reasons for ideas – communicating reasoning
- Allowing everyone to contribute
- Pulling ideas together – sharing, listening, valuing all contributions
- Finding out if the group is ready to make a decision – consensus making.
Example of group work:
My bed room
- Can your students design their dream bedroom? A brilliantly designed project that students love working together on. Lots of scope for extension and adaptation as well.
The wizard Apprentice Trials
- So much work has gone into this outstanding resource where students work together to complete a serious of mathematical tasks in order to fulfil their destiny!
Will my TV fit into my cupboard?
- A nice group activity where students must work together to solve a practical, real world problem. This could also be a nice introduction to the lovely topic of 3D Pythagoras.
Murder Mystery Challenge
- A nice simple group activity for younger students where students work together to try to figure out who has stolen the chocolate. Algebra, arithmetic, logic and good team work are needed here!
- What a fantastic revision / group work activity! Students must use their drawing skills to get the rest of their team to guess key exam words. Student will love playing this, and learn a lot at the same time too!
Maths Murder Mystery
- The second Murder Mystery of this Collection, and this time students must work together to decipher the hints to get to the bottom of the crime.
Rounding and Estimating Rich Task
- A really interesting way of looking at the (rather dull) topic of rounding and estimating. Students must work together in groups to figure out some seemingly impossible questions. Plenty of scope for extension and adaptation.
collecting data of Blood Group, represent in graph and interpret the given data
Source: The Teaching of mathematics by KULBIR SINGH SIDHU (Sterling Publisher Pvt Ltd)