The nature of mathematical enrichment: a case study of implementation

Jennifer Susan Piggott


This paper reports a framework for describing the nature of mathematics enrichment that emerged from a case study based on the work of the NRICH Project ( team when producing “mathematics enrichment trails” (an ordered set of related mathematics problems and support materials). A range of data sources, including the trails, trail development sessions, related literature and the views of colleagues were used to inform the findings. The data were analysed using NVivo and involved the development of two complementary coding systems. One, drawn from the data itself, gave evidence of views of the content aspects of mathematical enrichment. The other, specifically designed and informed by the literature, was used to aid the analysis of the roles of teaching and learning inherent in views of enrichment described by participants. The framework describes the content of an enrichment curriculum as well as implications for teaching and learning, the experiences of learners and the features of settings where this occurs. To support this, some detail is provided on the role, nature and purpose of problem-solving and what constitutes a good problem. While emerging from a particular context, the framework highlights the need for debate concerning the audience for mathematics enrichment, particularly in questioning the commonly held belief that its value is in supporting the needs of the mathematically most able. The framework also has potential value through offering a focus for debate within the wider community concerning the nature of mathematics enrichment and as a reference point for evaluating the potential of existing or new curriculum to deliver mathematics enrichment.



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