10 April 2017

5 Maths Gems #71

Welcome to my 71st gems post. This is where I share some of the latest news, ideas and resources for maths teachers.

1. GCSE Revision Resources
Grant (@AccessMaths) has recently published loads of great GCSE revision resources. You can check out the full collection at accessmaths.co.uk.

Resources include Crossover Problems, Octagon Revision Mats and Pentagon Problems. These all work well printed on A3.

2. Desmos Geometry
The awesome people at Desmos have created Desmos Geometry. It looks like it will be just as slick, accessible and user-friendly as their graphing calculator, so this is exciting news. It's currently in Beta and you can read more about it here. I'm looking forward to seeing how it develops.

Do check out Desmos's classroom activities if you haven't discovered them yet. If you have access to a functioning IT room, or a class set of tablets, these make great lessons - I wrote about Polygraph a couple of years ago, and have since used Waterline with great success.

3. Always, Sometimes, Never
Some classic maths activities never get old. I remember the first time I did an Always, Sometimes, Never activity from the Standards Unit in my NQT year. It generated brilliant mathematical discussion and was a really worthwhile lesson. Sarah Carter recently shared another great example of an Always, Sometimes, Never activity for teaching averages:

There are some good Always, Sometimes, Never activities on MathsPad, Nrich and TES. And here are some examples that were shared on Twitter by Mark McCourt (@EmathsUK) a while ago:

4. Pick a Card
The Underground Mathematics team at Cambridge have been busy expanding their collection of A level resources. In this 'Pick a card...' exercise, the content of one card is revealed by clicking on it and students have to decide whether they can work out the rest of the answers. There are some lovely follow up questions to consider, such as "Which card would be the easiest to start from?" and "Does each card always give enough information to uniquely identify the quadratic function?". If you teach A level do check out these excellent resources.
5. Perpendicular Gradient
I shared an animation in Gems 60 which demonstrates the relationship between the gradients of perpendicular lines. I've now found a video which shows the same thing. This is really clear and useful. Thanks to @MathWithMonkeys for sharing it.

Hurrah for the holidays! I've been away to sunny Devon with my family over the last few days. I'm going back to school on 18th April for the final exam countdown with my Year 11s, 12s and 13s.

Since my last gems post I've blogged five times - here's what I've written, in case you missed anything:
  • Yes, But Why? which features extracts from Ed Southall's new book
  • Update! which provides an update on recent improvements to my resource libraries
  • Papers Society which is about something I'm trying with my Year 11s this year - this post appeared in Schools Week's 'Top Blogs of the Week' column
  • Ultra Outreach Project which is about an opportunity for free enrichment in high-PP schools 
  • #mathsconf9 which is a write-up of the Bristol maths conference - this seems like ages ago now!

I feature as a special guest co-host in the next episode of Colin Beveridge and Dave Gale's podcast Wrong, But Useful. It's out later this week so do have a listen. Speaking of podcasts, check out Craig Barton's latest podcast with Dani Quinn - his most controversial one yet!

Don Steward has been busy posting new resources lately, including some tasks for new GCSE topics which will be added to my resource libraries this week. I've now added all of @taylorda01's 'Increasingly Difficult Questions' to my libraries too. I also made two new resources of my own:

All of my resources are available to download from TES, and appear in my resource libraries.

Quadratic Points from Don Steward

Look out for another round of my Annual Gem Awards later this month - the third anniversary of my blog is fast approaching.


  1. Thank you for the useful, informative and interesting post.

  2. Thank you for the useful, informative and interesting post.