15 April 2019

Foundation Tier Revision Resources

I've been teaching a fair amount of Foundation tier GCSE this year. It feels like there are fewer revision resources available for Foundation tier compared to Higher tier, so I've collected some together in this post for ease of access. There's nothing new here - it's all in my epic GCSE revision resources collection - but hopefully this post will remind teachers of some of the things that are available to use in the classroom in the last few weeks before exams start.

Ruler booklets
These booklets from tannermaths.co.uk were designed for the old GCSE but are still very useful. They contain loads of wordy questions, including a fair few on ratio and proportion. They are well presented and come with answers.
Revision mats
Everyone loves a resource printed on A3! There are a number of Foundation revision mats available from sources such as Access Maths, PixiMaths and Miss B's Resources. I recently used these from TES for key Foundation skills. I like it that they are editable - as I went through and worked out the answers I tweaked a few questions and changed the order a bit. I'm a big fan of editable resources!
Confidence boosters
The maths team from Edexcel (@EmporiumMaths) have recently shared sets of 'Practice Tests: Aiming for 4'. These six papers comprise Grade 1- 3 questions from Foundation past papers in order of difficulty as found by students (ie they start with the questions that most students got right). These are intended as a confidence booster for students aiming for a Grade 4.

On Access Maths you can also find a set of 'Start with Confidence' resources which contain 'opening page' questions.

TES user scottyknowles18 shared a set of key skills booklets for Foundation pupils. At work this year I was asked to make a PowerPoint to accompany his algebra booklet. I designed the PowerPoint to be used in form time interventions but it can be used in lessons too. Each section includes key points, a couple of examples for the teacher to go through, a diagnostic question and answers.
The maths team from Delta Trust have also shared Foundation 'Securing a Grade' Revision Booklets on TES.

Useful websites
CorbettMaths has 5-a-day activities (numeracy, foundation and foundation plus) plus practice questions and practice papers. Maths Genie has questions by topic too. MathsBot has GCSE revision tools where you can adapt resources so the questions are suitable for your students. MathsBox has loads of helpful resources for Foundation tier, including a couple of freebies: there's a Big Mistake activity and a Foundation relay.
Breakfast revision
Last year I made three sets of breakfast revision resources for Foundation tier students:

They are not designed for a specific board or exam series so can be used every year. They are intended to be printed on A3 and used as a warm up on the morning of the exam. I included editable versions (so you can remove the word 'breakfast' if you want to use them in class) and answers.
Topic tests and exam questions
Also have a look at what your exam board provides. For example a number of AQA exam questions over the last two years have been similar to questions seen in their collection of topic tests. So using questions from the topic tests in revision might be a good idea! And for Edexcel, the Emporium has a number of useful resources. Look in the GCSE folder marked 'Practice Papers & Questions' and you will find resources such as collections of crossover questions, one mark questions from Foundation papers and themed papers.

Self quizzing
If your pupils don't know their facts and formulae then they might find my Foundation Knowledge Quiz book useful. Schools can buy in bulk for £5 per book. These books are particularly helpful for pupils who would otherwise do nothing at home - it gives them a very easy-to-use resource for independent study.

Between exams
Given that this year we have a relatively short time back at school after Easter before exams start, I will probably go straight into mixed topic revision lessons (as opposed to the topic focused lessons I have been doing until now). I will particularly focus on non-calculator topics in the last week of normal lessons before their GCSEs start.  Between exams, when we will occasionally see pupils on the days they don't have exams, I will be using the resources that are published every year (by very helpful people) to revise the topics that haven't yet come up (I'm sure Adam Creen will keep track of these on his blog).

See my revision resources posts for more resources - plus there are loads more on TES. Good luck for the final few weeks with Year 11!

4 April 2019

5 Maths Gems #108

Welcome to my 108th gems post. This is where I share some of the latest news, ideas and resources for maths teachers.

1. SMP
Christian Bokhove (@cbokhove) and his team have been working on this project for a while so it's exciting to see the launch of smp2.co.uk. They have created PDFs of dozens of old SMP maths textbooks and booklets. Read about the aims of the project here.

Click ‘Access to SMP’ to register and download the materials. It's free and there's absolutely loads of material to look through. It's hard to know where to start! I'm very grateful to those involved for all their hard work on this.

Here's a randomly picked example of a task on calculator use. It's from Book G1.
And here's part of a task from a Level 3 booklet 'Coordinates 2 - Extension'.
2. Storyboarding
Thank you to Dale Chapman (@MrChapmanMaths) for sharing his storyboarding idea. This is where students create a simple set of instructions with pictures to explain a procedure. I blogged about a really similar idea for teaching constructions in Gems 30 back in 2015, but subsequently forgot all about it so this is a great reminder! Plus it's good to see it in use for bearings, and I wonder what other topics would lend themselves well to storyboarding.

3. GCSE Revision
As always at this time of year there's been a flurry of new revision resources.
  • Simply Effective Education sells Key Cards, which is (in my opinion) the best GCSE revision app available for maths and science. They have also shared some free revision races on TES
  • I was asked to make a PowerPoint to accompany Mr Knowles' (@SK18Maths) Foundation algebra revision booklet . It was designed to be used in short daily form time interventions but can be used in longer revision lessons too.

4. Fill in the Gaps
At Educating Northants last week Craig Barton (@mrbartonmaths) shared a new type of resource: Fill in the Gaps. We had a go at it during the workshop and it was brilliant. Try it and you'll see what I mean.
Go to variationtheory.com to download this ratio task, plus one for percentages and one for quadratics.

5. A Level Resources
Tom Bennison (@DrBennison) shared a 'Question a Day' revision resource for Year 13. 

@MrsGRVHS shared a padlet for A level maths with links to resources and useful websites.

@naikermaths added another AS Pure Practice Paper to the collection. These papers contain old specification exam questions but they are organised for the new specification so they are helpful for revision. The mark schemes for these AS Practice Papers can now be accessed without a password to help students in their revision for their A level exams.

Finally, while looking at MEI A level things on OCR's website, I discovered this command words summary. I have added this to my displays page.

I've been to three lovely conferences in the last two weeks - Habs Girls, Educating Northants and the London Thames Hub Primary Maths Conference.
At Educating Northants I recorded a Conference Takeaways podcast with Craig Barton that you can listen to here.
I also went out with my friends Gill Leahy and Dil Dias from the London Thames Maths Hub to see Hannah Fry do a talk about her book Hello World. It was brilliant.
During Educating Northants I went to a workshop on primary mastery by Nicky Moksa and she shared this grid of number facts. You can read more about it on the NCETM website here and here.

I have made quite a few updates to my conferences page lately - there's always a lot going on in the summer term. I'm looking forward to speaking at the Kent and Medway Secondary Maths Conference on Monday 8th July.

Nikki Martin (@nikki_nzmartin) completed her work on the Primary Topics in Depth project. This series of packs feature maths misconceptions, approaches and resources for Years 1 - 6.

My daughters discovered Sumaze Primary last week which was awesome - my 7 year old was totally in love with it and really happy when she completed every level. It's an amazing maths app for young children.

I look forward to seeing lots of you at the ATM/MA conference which is coming up soon. Before then, I'm very much looking forward to some time with my family to recover from the hectic month of March.

Finally, I'll leave you with the exciting news that Desmos now does box plots! If you haven't seen this before then do have a play.

25 March 2019

5 Maths Gems #107

Welcome to my 107th gems post. This is where I share some of the latest news, ideas and resources for maths teachers.

1. Foundation GCSE Revision
Thank you to Edexcel for providing a helpful compendium of one-mark questions from Foundation tier papers from the last four exam series. These can be downloaded from the Emporium.
Foundation GCSE teachers might also be interested in the revision clips from a new series called 'The Maths Show'. This series is produced by BBC Teach and features Matt Parker (@standupmaths).
If you're preparing students for their GCSE exams then don't forget I have a large collection of revision resources here.

2. Year 6 Maths Resources
Thanks to Mr Morgs (@_mrmorgs) for sharing a list of free maths resources to help prepare children for their SATs. No doubt this will be really helpful to Year 6 teachers.

Other helpful Year 6 maths resources include all the past SATs mark schemes condensed into one page each from Sophie Bee (@_MissieBee) and a PowerPoint of SATs questions linked to the contents domain from Thomas Timson (@filtered_k).

3. A Level Resources
I'm delighted to share some resources for A level teachers.

Susan Whitehouse (@Whitehughes)‬⁩, who has been one of my favourite A level authors for many years, has put all of her resources on a new website. You can now download the whole collection in one go.

CrashMaths (@crashMATHS_CM) have started adding more A Level Practice Papers to their website. You can download AS Maths Paper 1, Gold A here.

Mo Ladak (@MathedUp) has shared an updated version of a really helpful resource for A level students: "A level Maths Takeaway". This includes videos and practice questions by topic.

Finally, in a recent twilight session of the London A level pedagogy workgroup run by Carlos Karingal (@CarlosaurusK) I suggested making more use of goal-free problems at A level. Here are some examples:

4. Protractors
Whilst researching for an upcoming presentation on angles I read about a University of Exeter study from 2002 which suggested that there might be benefit in using protractors without numbers. Using a blank protractor removes the common difficulties we see with students using dual-scale protractors. Without numbers, pupils simply count off the scale in order to measure angles.
This idea seems obvious now, and indeed many tweeters have told me that they already do this. It's easy to print blank protractors on acetate. In response to my tweet about this the following tools and article were shared:

MathsPad (@MathsPadJames) updated their free constructions tool so you can remove the numbers from the protractor and zoom in.
BossMaths (@boss_maths) shared a great blog post about teaching measuring angles, and a Geogebra applet with an unnumbered protractor.
Tom Francome‏ (@TFrancome) shared the article 'Empty Protractor' from the ATM journal Mathematics Teaching.

5. Maths in Science
Thank you to Dr Sue Thaw‏ (@aegilopoides) for creating a PowerPoint containing Foundation exam questions from science GCSE papers that involve maths (percentages, probability, graphs, using data and equations). It's so helpful for maths teachers to see the maths that comes up in science.
If you're a maths teacher working together with your science department then do check out the joint maths/science CPD I featured in Gems 102.

I'm looking forward to speaking at two conferences this week: Primary Maths London on Friday where I'm speaking about angles, and Educating Northants on Saturday where I'm speaking about methods. Look out for a Conference Takeaways podcast with Craig Barton on Saturday.

Last weekend I spent the day with Megan Guinan at the Habs Girls conference where I particularly enjoyed the keynotes from Lucy Crehan and Vic Goodard.

If you're looking to attend a conference in the summer term then there are lots to choose from - check out my events page for listings. I'm speaking at researchED Rugby which has a great maths strand and at the MEI Conference which has three days of brilliant workshops for teachers of Key Stage 3, 4 and 5.

If you're a primary teacher then you might be interested in the launch of the 'First Mathematics Challenge' - a national maths competition aimed at children in Years 3 and 4.

I shared the news on Twitter that a calculator is now available that allows students to secretly access the internet and send messages during an exam. It may be a hoax, but if it's real then we need to keep an eye out for these. The top sticker can be peeled off so it looks like a Casio. It's quite expensive, plus a huge risk for students, so let's hope that stops this from becoming a problem!
Have you seen this website all about the history of Smile Maths resources? It's full of interesting stuff.

I'll leave you with this visual prompt from @MathIsVisual which is designed to get pupils thinking about the area of a triangle.

17 March 2019

5 Maths Gems #106

Welcome to my 106th gems post. This is where I share some of the latest news, ideas and resources for maths teachers.

1. Maths4Everyone
I have written about David Morse's (@Maths4Everyone) resources a number of times before. I use them a lot in lessons, particularly his packs of GCSE questions by topic. Up until now I have always accessed them through TES, but now David has updated his website so his free primary and secondary resources are easily accessible without a login.

One clever feature of the website is the 'click-to-zoom' functionality where you can zoom in on a particular question or solution when you go through answers with the class.
I also like the way his new codebreakers give an anagram - this stops pupils from giving up on the maths as soon as they've worked out the sentence which is a common problem in codebreakers!

2. Facts and Basics
Thanks to Adam Smith (@Adam_SmithMaths) who has shared 'Facts and Basics' resources for A level and GCSE. These quizzes include facts, formulae and short procedural questions to help pupils practise the basics.
3. Notation and Symbols
Thanks to Karen Campe (@KarenCampe) for sharing a link to the article "Learning Mathematical Symbolism: Challenges and Instructional Strategies" by Rheta N. Rubenstein and Denisse R. Thompson. There's lots to think about here.

In the table below, the last example is particularly worth discussing. At Amy How's Rekenrek workshop at #mathsconf18 she mentioned that she would never say 'zero point six' - she'd always say sixth tenths instead. I've heard other people say this too, and I wonder why I still continue to say decimals in such an unhelpful way. When I say 0.42 out loud to pupils, perhaps I should consistently say '42 hundredths' instead of 'zero point four two'. I have a feeling we (ie many teachers in this country - I know I'm generalising) might be a bit behind other countries with this.
The article includes teaching strategies:
"Students may also be instructed to record symbols in their own personal symbol table or card file, in which they write the symbol, record in English how to say it, and give examples of its use". 
Other ideas include asking pupils to invent 'graffiti' for mathematical symbols (examples below - these are similar to the calligrams I have featured in previous gems posts) and asking pupils to make their own examples and non-examples.

4. Mathigon
I first blogged about the amazing website Mathigon in 2014, and it was a winner in the 2015 Gem Awards. The content goes from strength to strength. The writer Philipp Legner has recently published a brand new free course 'Circles and Pi' that contains countless interactive explanations on circles, spheres, and conic sections. It is such a cool website - have a play with the animations and you'll see what I mean. Here's a trailer for the new content:

5. AQA Additional Maths Pilot Questions
A few years ago I wrote about using old Linked Pair Pilot questions with GCSE classes and shared some examples of good questions. I can also recommend old AQA Additional Maths Pilot papers too. To explain why I've been using these: twice a week I run morning intervention with a Year 11 top set at a school in Croydon. It's taken a while for the pupils to warm up to me, but we're getting there now. We spend an hour doing challenging GCSE-level questions together. It works well when I sit and work out the solutions alongside them. The problem is, because I'm not their teacher I have to be careful not to give them questions that their teacher might have already used. So I search for suitable questions elsewhere. Here two questions we enjoyed last week:

If you're preparing students for their GCSE exams then don't forget I have a large collection of revision resources here.

I've been super busy this year with various projects, hence the lack of blog posts. I do update things behind the scenes all the time though, even when I seem quiet! This week, thanks to lovely contributors, I added some new primary topics in depth packs and some new Pret homeworks.
My books, and the science books in the same series, have been selling well to schools. I'm now starting to look for authors for other subjects and key stages to further extend the series. I really hope they help Year 11s to do some revision over Easter. Just to clarify a few key points: 1) They are for students, not teachers. There's really no point in a teacher having a single copy, unless they tutor. 2) They are specifically aimed at the students who need support to get started with independent study. 3) They are literally just for memorising facts and formulae, nothing else. I explained the idea in this post last month.

Last week I went to a great event at Amazon with loads of cool maths people like Alex Bellos, Conrad Wolfram and Colin Hegarty. The Head of Amazon UK is a mathematician and he wants to support maths education. No doubt I will update my readers on this initiative over the coming months.

If you were at my Humble Pi book launch then do check out the superpermuatations video that was filmed at the event.

Humble Pi is currently the UK's number one bestselling book which is really exciting.

Last weekend was #mathsconf18 in Birmingham. As usual I had a lovely time, met lots of awesome teachers and attended great workshops. Thank you to David Faram for helping me run the MA bookstand and Rob Smith for driving the MA bookstand all the way from Leicester.

I presented on Unit Conversions - my slides can be downloaded from my Topics in Depth page.

Next weekend I'm speaking at the Habs Girls conference and the following weekend I'm speaking at Educating Northants which is going to be absolutely huge - check out the programme! Look out for a Conference Takeaways podcast from me and Craig Barton afterwards.

Next month it will be the fifth anniversary of resourceaholic.com (so time for my fifth annual Gem Awards!) and coincidentally in the same month I expect to pass 5,000,000 views.

I'll leave you with a problem from Daniel Griller (@puzzlecritic) that he shared in his workshop at #mathsconf18. Enjoy!

The numbers 1, 2 and x are written on the board. Their mean is equal to the product of their median and range. Find all possible values of x.

5 March 2019

5 Maths Gems #105

Welcome to my 105th gems post. This is where I share some of the latest news, ideas and resources for maths teachers.

1. MathsPad
As usual James and Nicola from MathsPad have shared lots of excellent resources with subscribers in their monthly update. Their pie chart tool is great!
This month they also shared a free set of fun cross-sequences puzzles that you can access even if you don't subscribe. I've added this to my algebra resource library.

2. Similar Triangles Problem
Thanks to John Rowe (@MrJohnRowe) for sharing this problem. Similar triangles spiral to form a regular decagon. The task is to find the length marked with a question mark.

3. Missing Steps
TickTockMaths (@TickTockMaths) shared an activity where students complete the missing steps.

You can download his algebraic fractions PowerPoint here. Check out all of Richard's free resources on his blog or on TES.

4. Maths Frame
Ted Burch (@Mathsframe) has converted all his free maths ITPs from Flash to HTML5 so they will work on any modern browser. These interactive tools are useful for for both primary secondary teachers. They are very easy to use. There's loads to explore so do check out the website.

5. Posters
This lovely set of STEM role model posters will brighten up school corridors and provide good talking points.
There's also a nice set of downloadable 'Forces of Nature' posters from Perimeter Institute which includes one of my favourite mathematicians, Ada Lovelace.
It's all been a bit crazy lately. On Saturday night I hosted Matt Parker's book launch in London. Thanks to all the wonderful people who helped out on the night and all the wonderful guests, it ended up being an utterly brilliant night. I had such a good time and loved every minute. After excellent and thoroughly entertaining talks in the amphitheatre from Matt Parker, Jen Rogers, Rob Eastaway, Tim Harford and Dan Schreiber, we ended the night with a show from FoxDog Studios which was the funniest thing I have ever seen! There was loads going on in the reception room too, including James Grime with an Enigma machine, Ben Sparks with 3D Geogebra, Andy Sharpe with Nrich maths games, and Chalkdust with their awesome magazine. Plus of course there was a self-playing piano performing a previously unannounced superpermuation. And the best goody bags ever.
Here's a video of my 180 guests (mostly maths teachers) thoroughly enjoying the interactive show from FoxDog Studios.

Thank you so much to everyone who came, and to our friends at Jane Street for the ridiculously generous support. I think it's time for me to retire from my event management hobby because there's no way I can ever top this one!

In other news, my books have now been printed. These books are for students (not teachers!) - they are designed to help them learn all their facts and formulae for GCSE maths and science. Please either bulk order for your students or point them in the direction of Amazon using these leaflets. I have explained how the books work in this short home video.
I'm ridiculously tired from the book launch (turns out that planning big events at short notice is a bit exhausting!), but still very much looking forward to #mathsconf18 in Bristol this weekend. I do love a mathsconf. I will have some samples of my books if you want to have a look. I will also be doing a talk about unit conversions (a technical glitch meant that people were unable to sign up to it for a while, but there is still space so please come along!), and I'll be helping to run the MA bookstand along with David Faram. Do come and say hello at some point if you're at the conference.

I'll leave you with this calculus comic from XKCD.