Maths is Skills, Knowledge, Understanding and Enjoyment! The 'Maths is...' Jugglers Ltd.

Star & High Level Challenges

Star Challenges and High Level Challenges in Y7 & Y8

Star Challenges motivate students of all abilities; with them each student demonstrates their mastery of the techniques they have just covered. 

The number of stars is a measure of the difficulty of the Challenge; so one star denotes a fairly easy challenge. However students should not be discouraged from attempting any Challenge. They can earn fewer stars with partially correct answers, as Star Challenges range in difficulty; with 1, 2, 3 or to even, rarely, 4 star challenges available.

Low attainers can amaze you, with students eager to tackle problems that you may have thought were beyond them, and succeed.

The Emirps Star Challenge Example

An unusual problem occurred when this Star Challenge was given to my bottom set.
Early next morning I was faced by an irate caretaker. The cleaners were not getting on with their work.
They were trying to find all 9 emirps, but could only find 8. What really egged them on was
that two of their children had found all 9 but wouldn’t tell them what the missing one was.
I had to go and put the cleaners out of their misery - and let them get back to work.

What do schools do with the stars?

Rewards are not necessary; it is the sense of achievement that is most important.However, a system that awards students for the amount of stars they can collect can enthuse students to keep track of how many stars they have, and how many more they need towards the next ‘prize’, instead of, possibly invidious, comparisons of the total number of stars each student has. 

Examples of this have included: one house point for one star, a smiley face for 5 stars, a chocolate bar for 10 stars, a poster for 20 stars. If your school has a reward or merit system, pupils’ success on the Star Challenges could form part of this system. Stars could also be awarded for effort when the books are taken in. This works very well with low attainers.

High Level Challenges are at the end of each topic in Y7 Headbanger and Y8 Yerwat. The more able/faster students are expected to tackle these High Level Challenges when they complete a section, rather than moving onto the next section ahead of the rest of the class. Students are also free to work on the High Level Challenges in their own time; many of them complete all the High Level Challenges (over 200 in each text).

High Level Challenge Sample

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The ‘Maths is...’ Jugglers Ltd, The Stables, Verner Close, Headley, Bordon, Hampshire, GU35 8LW
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