## 18 February 2016

### 5 Maths Gems #49

Hello and welcome to my 49th gems post. This is where I share five maths teaching ideas and provide an update on some of the things that have been happening in UK maths education.

1. Revision Mats
Grant Barker (@AccessMaths) has created some excellent revision mats. Like all of Grant's resources, these are very well designed.

For more GCSE revision resources, see my post Higher GCSE Revision.

2. MathsBot
I've sung the praises of Jonathan Hall's (@StudyMaths) website formtimeideas.com many times before. If you're a form tutor and you don't know about this website then you're missing out! I've used it for tutor groups from Year 7 through to Year 12. In addition to formtimeideas.com, Jonathan runs some excellent maths websites - my favourite is Flash Maths.

It's worth checking out Jonathan's recent updates to MathsBot.com. This includes numerous helpful tools including a Starter Generator which allows you to select topics and difficulty level:
3. Key Marks
Thanks to Billy Adamson (@Billyads_47) for creating a 'Key marks earned in GCSEs' resource. These slides feature simple strategies and facts that Billy's students need to learn for their GCSE exams. Weekly testing over the next few months (for example with mini-whiteboards) will be a good way to help students memorise these key points.
4. Truncation
Truncation is a new GCSE topic. My colleague Rachel (@miss_middletonr) has a really nice way of helping students remember how to truncate numbers.

When I say I'm 35 years old, I haven't rounded my age to the nearest integer. I've truncated my age. So when I say I'm 35, you know my age is between 35 and 36:

35  age < 36

This is an incredibly straightforward and accessible way to teach error intervals. Thank you for the idea Rachel!

5. Launch - Underground Maths
If you've been following the progress of CMEP then you probably already know that their fantastic A level resources are going to be hosted on the new website undergroundmathematics.org which launches on Monday. Follow @UndergroundMath for updates. I love their 'teddy bear' activity for the equation of a circle.

I recommend that you read these recent articles and publications if you haven't already:
• Edexcel's new Maths GCSE Assessment Guide. I found it interesting to read that formulae will be given in the question rather than on a formula sheet. Also, although it's not new information, the sentence "Previously, 25% of questions were targeted at A/A*, but now 50% of questions in each paper are targeted at the equivalent grades, 7–9" reminded me of the significant step up in difficulty of the new GCSEs.
• Information about the National Reference Test and sample questions.
• Lynne McClure's blog post 'Maths Tokyo style'.
• 'A brief history of quadratic equations for mathematics educators' by Leo Rogers and Sue Pope. Thanks to @dannytybrown for sharing this link.
• Craig Barton's podcasts (they're all worth a listen). His most recent interview was with Bruno Reddy. Bruno was also mentioned in Nick Gibb's speech 'Getting the basics right in mathematics'.
• Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 Maths Exemplifications. These show what 'working at the expected standard' means at the end of Key Stage 1 and 2. I found some of the Key Stage 2 work quite surprising, particularly the angle problems. It's concerning that 11 year olds can do these questions but so many 16 year olds can't.
 Example of expected standard at Key Stage 2
Update
I've had a busy half-term doing lots of lovely family stuff as well as lots of school work. Next week I'm delivering an enrichment lecture at school based on Simon Singh's The Simpsons and their Mathematical Secrets and I'm also running my first set of fortnightly enrichment sessions for Year 3 and 4 students at a local primary school.

I've written a couple of blog posts over half-term - in case you missed them, they were Common Errors Made by Maths Teachers and You Say Zero, I Say Nought.

Two weeks until #mathsconf6!

I'll leave you with this lovely tweet from @CDawson18: