3 July 2017

5 Maths Gems #74

Welcome to my 74th gems post. This is where I share some of the latest news, ideas and resources for maths teachers.

1. Area Mazes
Two years ago I wrote about Area Mazes in Gems 36 . Last week Nicke (@NEdge9) told me about the lovely website areamaze.com which I'd never seen before. This simple, user-friendly website presents a series of increasingly difficult area mazes for students to work through online. Helpfully, students are able to draw workings on the diagrams while they reason their way through the puzzles.
2. Animations
Tim Brzezinski (@dynamic_math) has been tweeting some brilliant online geogebra stuff lately. I like to use things like this in lessons as part of my explanations. No Geogebra skills are required! For example Tim has made excellent collections of animations for exterior angles and interior angles of polygons and a tool exploring linear growth vs exponential growth. Follow Tim on Twitter for lots more like this.
Another clever animation that I spotted on Twitter this week was one by Kendra Lockman (@klockmath). Kendra has created a tool in Desmos: 'Adding Integers on a Number Line' which is worth a look.

3. Angles in Polygons
Ed Southall (@solvemymaths) has been finding out about maths education over in Japan and will no doubt share lots of blog posts and articles about what he's discovered. He's already tweeted about multiple approaches for finding a formula for the interior angles of polygons.
Most teachers go with the first approach here, but for a while I've thought that the second approach (triangles that meet in the centre, leading to the formula 180n - 360) might be more intuitive. It's worth discussing.

4. Odd One Out
MathsPad has published a new set of Odd One Out resources. Students need to find matching pairs from nine items in a box, and then circle the odd one out. These activities are designed to draw out possible misconceptions. There are currently nine topics available to MathsPad subscribers and two topics available for free: Reciprocals and Simplifying Surds.

5. End of Term Quiz
My post 'End of term resources' lists maths activities that are helpful when you have a half a class or half a lesson. I believe it's very important to keep teaching maths right up to the last day of term - I never give in to students' requests for films or games! But sometimes lessons are disrupted by school events, meaning that teaching a new topic becomes difficult. This presents a good opportunity for maths enrichment.

Thanks to Richard Tock (@TickTockMaths) for sharing his End of Year Maths Quiz. This quiz is very mathsy and is written specifically for summer 2017.
This Maths Pub Quiz Pack by @SE_Education is also worth a look.

I'm very pleased that exam season is over! It's good to have some gained time, though I'm really busy writing UCAS references, sorting out displays ahead of open evening, and finding resources for the new A level. I will be blogging about new A level topics soon.

Last week I was appointed to the role of Acting Joint Head of Maths at Glyn School (it's just maternity cover, and I was the only applicant, but hey - it's nice to get a temporary promotion). It's going to be a challenge but I'm delighted to be given the opportunity.
A third of Glyn Maths Faculty enjoying prom last week

In case you missed them, my recent posts were:

I'm presenting my Angles in Depth workshop at the ATM & MA London Branch conference this Saturday so if you're based in London, do come along.

In other maths news, MEI launched a new app (Bundles of Graphs) and Simon Singh launched his Parallel Project for keen high attainers. Also, MEI have launched some excellent new A level resources on Integral, including helpful revision summary sheets.

Don't forget to book tickets for my #summaths event!

I'll leave you with this lovely activity 'Ab-surd!' from Underground Maths - I love surds!


  1. Thanks Jo, this has become regular reading for me!

  2. Jo, please can you explain the last pentagon? I thought it too would be (n-1)*180 -180 because there are 4 triangles then you subtract the extra triangle formed outside the pentagon. How is it (n-3)*180 + 180? (Unless that's a different one entirely). Thanks!

    1. Good question. I've been trying to make sense of it too. I've asked Ed but he's only just got back from Japan - I'll get back to you!

  3. Love that area maze website! I (and the class) got very stuck on 10 and ended up doing it by multiplying/dividing fractions...then we saw the far easier way to do it!

  4. Thanks for the Revision sheets for Exponents! Keep up the good work! :)