9 August 2015

5 Maths Gems #36

One year ago today I started my gems series. In my first gems post I explained my thinking:

"I’m fairly new to Twitter. My absence over the last few years means I’ve missed out on thousands of excellent teaching ideas. Twitter is a source of endless inspiration. So I have a plan. I’m going to write a weekly post highlighting five great new ideas I’ve gleaned from Twitter. These posts will help me remember things. And hopefully my readers will benefit too."

I was right - these posts really do help me remember things. They help me process and organise lots of good ideas.

Since I returned to work from maternity leave in January I haven't been able to post every week, but I do still write a couple of gems posts each month. If you haven't read them all then you might find my Gem Awards helpful - this is a post I wrote in April 2015 where I picked out some of my favourite ideas and resources.

Today I present my 36th gems post. I hope there's something useful for you here.

1. Area Maze
I love the new Area Maze puzzles from Naoki Inaba. Alex Bellos featured them as his Monday Puzzle in The Guardian this week. The aim is to find the missing value marked with a question mark. These puzzles can be solved using only whole numbers. Alex's article featured a selection of Area Mazes, from this example...

... to this.
These are perfect puzzles for students - accessible yet challenging. There's a free app too.

2. Warm-Ups
I've read some nice posts about lesson starters recently. These are all worth a read if you're looking for fresh ideas to start your lessons:
I particularly like Sarah Hagan's Good Things - I plan to use it as a weekly activity in form time next year.

I've also recently discovered maths-starters.co.uk, which is currently under development. I like Calculate Cascade and Parallel Panic
3. Desmos Activities
We all love Desmos. I'm sure you already use it for graphing, but you might not have tried a Desmos activity yet. If you haven't then perhaps add it to your list of things to try next year - my post Polygraph Rocks will give you a good idea what it's all about. I'm excited about trying out Polygraph Quadrilaterals, Water Line and Tile Pile.

Desmos recently announced the launch of Activity Builder. This allows teachers to build their own Desmos activities and share them with other teachers for use in their lessons. There's a blog post here explaining how it works.

This week I've seen loads of brilliant new Desmos activities. Here's three examples that show the versatility of this tool:

I also spotted this activity Intro to graphs and desmos basics by Sara B. Vaughn ‏(@Vaughn_trapped) which has inspired me to make my own activity to introduce Desmos to my students.

4. Pixel Puzzles
Stacy Brookes (@Stacy_Maths) continues to write helpful blog posts about where to find resources. She also creates many excellent resources of her own. I like her new idea - pixel puzzles. In these engaging worksheets, students answer questions and find the corresponding answers in a grid. They shade the correct answers and the shaded squares form a picture. This is a great idea and I look forward to seeing more of these from Stacy. I've added them to my resource library.
5. Fractions in Geogebra
Here's someone new to follow on Twitter: Neil Dickson (@GeoGebrain), writer of geogebraintheclassroom.blogspot.co.uk. I enjoyed his post Equivalent Fractions which features this Geogebra tool which can be used to support the teaching of fractions. Have a play with it, it's excellent. I love fact that you can drag one diagram onto the other to see the equivalence.
I have a new Facebook page! It's facebook.com/resourceaholic. Please like it! I was inspired by Ed's facebook page facebook.com/solvemymaths which I find really helpful. It's easy to miss things on Twitter but now I never miss Ed's posts.

I enjoyed Stuart Price's (@sxpmaths) post about Collating Resources. It's well worth a read. I agree with Stuart that it's helpful to organise resources with a screenshot, so I've started exploring Pearltrees (thanks to @KerryDunton for her comment on Gems 34 - I'd never heard of Pearltrees before this). I intend to touch on organising resources in my workshop at #mathsconf5. Have you got your ticket yet?

That's it for this week. One year of maths gems - and plenty more still to come. Happy anniversary to me.

1 comment:

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