Fairmount School


Fairmount School was founded in 1981. In 2014 about 1000 learners were registered. It is a public school. The languages of instruction are English and Afrikaans.

The 2014 statistics provided by the Western Cape Education Department are as follows:


Regis Magama and Jonathan Fischer are taking part in the project.

What’s happened so far ….

Fasmed researchers visited the school on 12th November. We were taken to the headmaster’s office and joined by Regis, Jonathan and the headmaster, Mr Klassen. Later we were also joined by Michael Curry, another teacher of mathematics.

Mr Klassen welcomed us and provided some background information about the school. Marie and Ingrid outlined the main aspects of the project and answered questions from the teachers. The headmaster stated that he fully supported involvement in the project. It was agreed that Regis and Jonathan would take part, possibly to be joined by Michael and other maths teachers.

We observed both teachers teaching an ordinary lesson on 25th February. Both lessons were on the topic of exponents. We took observation notes and produced separate reports on each lesson. The teachers were given the reports and invited to comment, but it seems they were happy with the reports.

The first research lesson

Jonathan wanted to teach a lesson on early algebra for the research lesson. We devised a lesson, with his help, based on a lesson from the Mathematics Assessment Project for older learners. Jonathan taught this lesson on 12th March and we video recorded the lesson and interviewed him afterwards. He did not complete the lesson so continued the following day and Ingrid video recorded it. We also gave him a short questionnaire for his learners to complete. We produced a report on Jonathan’s lesson and have invited him to comment.

Regis chose to teach the exponents lesson on the same day, 12th March. However, owing to late timetable changes at the school, the lesson was shortened and he did not have time to get further than the introduction. He taught the lesson on 14th April and as before we wrote a report and gave it to him for comment.

The second research lesson

Both Jonathan and Regis wanted a lesson on algebraic expressions, equations and identities. Regis wanted to focus on the distributive law. We used a lesson on identities from the Mathematics Assessment Project, modified it in the light of a) our knowledge of the learners in these two classes b) time limitations for the lesson and c) advice from the teachers. For example, Jonathan wanted the cards coloured green, orange and red to signal levels of difficulty. We were doubtful about this idea but did as he requested. Regis wanted to restrict the set of cards to the ones that required learners to multiply out brackets. He wanted the cards all in one colour.

Both teachers taught their lessons on 21st May. We wrote reports and gave them to the teachers. We also gave questionnaires for the learners to them and we received them back and analysed them.

More about the plans for the lesson are here.

The third research lesson

As it was getting towards the Annual National Assessments, Regis asked for a revision lesson. We decided to devise out own lesson, based on the idea of ‘here is the answer, what was the question?’. We chose three possible answers: 3, 4 and 5 and created cards with statements or questions with these answers. The learners made a poster with three columns labelled 3, 4 and 5 and placed the cards appropriately.

Jonathan asked for a lesson on measures of central tendency, and we designed a lesson using much the same idea as we used for Regis’ lesson. This time the ‘questions’ were sets of numbers and a measure (e.g. mode) and the learners needed to work out which column it went into (3, 3,5 or 5).

Regis taught his lesson on 2nd September and Jonathan taught his on 3rd September. We wrote reports and gave them to the teachers. We also gave questionnaires for the learners to them and we received them back and analysed them.

Wrapping up

We produced a video montage for each of the classes and showed it to them on 2nd December.