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Blog > Classroom > Ask the Expert: IB Diploma Maths Q&A

Ask the Expert: IB Diploma Maths Q&A

Following on from our webinar with one of the lead authors of our new IB Diploma Maths textbooks, Ibrahim Wazir, we share his answers to your questions about the new courses.

21 Jun 2019
2019 is bringing a new IB Diploma Mathematics Guide, which we know will have a big impact on the way you teach Maths. That’s why we asked one of the lead authors of our new textbooks to answer your questions, so that you know what the changes mean for you, and to make sure you’ve got everything you need to be ready when September 2019 comes around. 
Read on to find the answers to questions that were asked before and during our ‘Ask the Expert’ webinar, or you can watch a recording of the webinar here.

Planning your teaching

Q: How different is the teaching for AA and AI? Is it just the content that is different? How does my teaching need to change?
A: In Ibrahim’s opinion, teaching of AA and AI should be approached differently. Students should be partners in the learning process, they should be encouraged to make their own discoveries and mistakes.Therefore, for both routes, Ibrahim suggests setting up small (eg. 4 students) cooperative (mixed ability) learning groups and setting them discovery activities. Lower ability students will feel more confident asking questions in smaller groups and higher ability students will gain greater understanding through explaining ideas to other students.
For AA, teachers should provide activities that focus on proof, problem solving situations and discovery approaches. For AI, teachers should focus on including the use of technology efficiently and modelling situations.
Q: What type of students do you see enrolling in AI HL in terms of what they want to go on to study and the skills they need to be successful in the course?
A: In terms of what they want to go on to study - students who are not going into Maths, Physics, Engineering, Econometrics etc will not need to take the HL course. Students should be prepared with all the prior learning, but the AI HL course is not for students who struggle to approach new unfamiliar situations. AI HL students should also be competent GDC users and willing to learn. AI HL students are the types of students who would previously have been strong SL students or insecure HL students.
Q. What order should topics be taught in?
A: Ibrahim suggests using the same order that has been used in the new Pearson books as they were written by extremely experienced teachers in the way they would approach their teaching.
Q: Do you recommend that students take the extended MYP Maths course in order to enter DP HL?
A: It is not necessary. Students could also join the DP from schools that do not offer the MYP and be successful.
Q: How should modeling be taught? Introduce various functions before introducing modeling tasks, or go on a spiral approach function by function?
A: Ibrahim recommends the spiral approach. The new AI books include chapters dedicated to the modelling approach. It is recommended that these chapters are worked through in order.
Q: Do AA students have to solve log equations analytically? It is not clear from the syllabus. 2.1 does not specify types of equations. What is your take on this?
A: To be on the safe side, an AA student should be able to reason and argue without the use of a calculator.
Q: When is the best time to introduce the Internal Assessment?
A: In Ibrahim’s opinion, students could complete an early informal piece of work similar to the Internal Assessment for practice, that would not be sent to the IB for moderation. The Toolkit time could be used for this. This means that when the formal Internal Assessment is introduced to students, they will be more prepared.
Q: Do you have any thoughts about teachers teaching the old and the new curriculum at the same time?
A: This is a little bit of a challenge, but it should be fine, especially for AA as the changes aren’t big.

University recognition

Q: Do you know how universities will evaluate the grades for the new courses?
A: This will take time.
Q: Do you know how universities will evaluate the AI SL course?
A: Ibrahim thinks AI SL will be treated in the same way as Maths Studies. Resources
Q. How are the new books different from the old books?
A: The new AA books are comparative to the old books (but with the introduction of the new topics that weren’t included in the old syllabus). Questions have been updated and expanded, including new exam-style questions to match the new sample assessments. Coverage of the use of technology has also been updated and enhanced. The new AI books were written almost from scratch by a new group of very well established authors.
Q: How do the new books support Paper 3 and the Toolkit?
A: The Toolkit is a change in the way the class is run. The last few questions in every set of end of chapter questions could be used as inquiry-based activities that could lead to a Paper 3-style question (or a modelling question in the AI books). 

Digital resources

Q: Are worked solutions to all questions available?
A: Yes, worked solutions for all questions will be available as downloadable PDFs from the enhanced eBooks, which will be live in September.
Q: Will the books contain interactive GeoGebra applets and GDC support?
A: Yes, the enhanced eBooks will include links to interactive GeoGebra applets written to match the exercises in addition to links to GDC videos for further support. The enhanced eBooks will be live in September.

Download a PDF version of this Q&A from our Resources page.
To find out more and to access samples of our four new titles visit: 


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