28 August 2015

5 Maths Gems #39

Hello and welcome to my 39th gems post. This is where I share five maths teaching ideas I've seen on Twitter. This will be my last post of the summer holidays - I've been a busy blogger this summer but lesson planning takes priority this weekend. We all know how manic things get at school in September.

1. Bojagi
I'm excited about this. Dave Radcliffe (@daveinstpaul) has created a multiplication game called Bojagi. Read this Forbes article for details. Teaching area to Year 7? Get them playing this game. It's awesome.

The goal is to draw a rectangle around each number so that the area of each rectangle is the number it contains. The rectangles must not overlap and must fill the entire grid. I did the puzzle pictured below. It was fun. Have a go.

Bojagi puzzle with solution
2. Sharing resources
Here's a lovely idea for your maths department office from Hannah (@LorHRL). Put up a board for sharing resources. Staff pin up their recommendations for various topics, along with a note about where to find each resource. It's much easier to look at hard copies than search through files on a computer so I can see this board being really helpful. Topics could be updated regularly - for example Year 12 teachers normally teach surds in the first or second week of term, so it makes sense to start with surds resources on the board and put up different topics the following week.
3. Name cards
These name cards from MathsPad have been very well received on Twitter. You could use them in your first lesson with Year 7. Print the pages double sided - students write their name, complete the puzzles and stand the card on their desk. There's an editable version here too. I love MathsPad - their resources are excellent. 
4. Classroom ideas
I like this display idea from Hannah White (@MissWhiteMaths). She's created a Wonderwall on which she'll display maths challenges that start with 'I wonder...' (like 'I wonder how many footballs will fit on a pitch').
 I also really like John Corbett's (@Corbettmaths) idea to put photo frames on desks. 
These are £1 Ikea photo frames, velcroed to the desks. He's starting with an 'Ideal Presentation' picture in the frames (featured in Gems 35) but he intends to change the picture every week or fortnight, for example to display information about revision session, star students and so on.

5. Statistics prompts
Whilst planning my first S1 lesson of the year, I stumbled upon these lovely graphics. These will make brilliant discussion prompts to get students thinking about the reliability of statistics.
My colleague Lizzie (@MissStokesMaths) always tells her students that they have more than the average number of legs! Another great discussion point.

The new GCSE specification requires students to understand the difference between correlation and causation. Amir (@WorkEdgeChaos) shared this extract from the marketing material of a cheeky solicitor - a great example to share with students:
Since my last gems post I've written two posts: Icebreakers and Multiple Choice Questions. I also made a resource for finding the gradient of a curve, a topic on the new GCSE specification.

This week saw the first ever #mathsjournalclub chat. It works a bit like a book club. We discussed an article about students' understanding of functions. The chat was a success and I look forward to the next one in a couple of months - follow @mathjournalclub for details.

Speaking of Twitter chats, #mathsTLP returns on Sunday. This is where we share ideas and resources for lessons in the week ahead. If you're new to Twitter, please join in - you're very welcome. Here's how:

Finally, if you're a fan of @solvemymaths' Maths Mr Men (everyone is!) then you'll love these reward stickers. L Needham (@luby_lou99) has made this template which can be printed onto these stickers. Great stuff.
Picture from @mrprcollins


  1. ...and all designers are mustachioed bespectacled men! (sample size of 2)

  2. About 50.7% of uk population is female and a small proportion of men, due to accident or disease, will not have a full complement so average number of testicles will be actually less than 1!