Because giftedness presents in such a wide variety of ways, there is no single best approach to catering for gifted students. Gifted students have a variety of particular needs, and it is important that these are met so that their abilities can best be developed.
Gifted maths students need a programme of learning that allows for:
- open ended tasks linking multiple disciplines
- the application of and development of abstract thinking skills
- in-depth, self-directed exploration of self-selected topics
- the opportunity to explore links between various topics
- the opportunity to understand concepts more quickly and explore them in greater depth than other students.
Two common approaches to providing for gifted students are acceleration and enrichment. Acceleration involves introducing the student to new material at a faster rate than other students, moving them through the content of the curriculum more quickly. Enrichment involves providing material outside of the normal curriculum to offer additional challenges and to ‘broaden’ the student’s knowledge of mathematics. While enrichment is generally the preferred approach in New Zealand schools, a combination of both approaches can be used to best meet the needs of gifted students.
Read more about providing for gifted students on Gifted and Talented Online.
We suggest that one of the best ways teachers can cater to their high achieving maths students is by engaging them in problem solving activities. Click to read about some of the benefits to introducing students to problem solving.
A collection of interactive problem solving modules have been developed for gifted maths students. Students in New Zealand schools can access them by creating an account for e-ako maths.
A collection of open-ended investigation starters are available. These investigations aim to allow gifted students to explore a problem or idea flexibly. Supporting material for teachers is provided.