Alien Explanation is a new thing I’ve started using in my maths lessons this year and it is working extremely well. When I start a new concept in Maths – I teach the new ideas, get the children to do some examples and then get the children to explain the concepts to me as I pretend I am an alien and I have just arrived from Mars and I haven’t a clue what is happening in the maths lesson.
This is a great way for the children to use the maths language, talk through the concept and seek clarification themselves. Children tend to help one another out and I really act clueless and do nothing until the child who is explaining tells me what to do and why.
For example, last week we were looking at mixed numbers and improper fractions. We had completed lots of sample questions on whiteboards and then I gave the children a question; To change 18/5 to a mixed number. The answer was 3 and 3/5 but when the children told me this I didn’t write it down until they explained that the 3 (whole number) had to be written larger than the fraction and they explained why and then we looked at the fraction.
Overall I found this really useful for maths and I’m sure it could be used in other lessons too.