10 January 2016

5 Maths Gems #47

Hello and welcome to my 47th gems post. This is where I share five maths teaching ideas I've seen on Twitter.

1. Don's Multiple Choice
I often write about Don Steward's resources - it's worth checking his blog every now and then to see what he's added. This week I was browsing his 'practice and quiz questions' blog (which is separate to his main blog) when I noticed that he has started to produce excellent sets of multiple choice questions - here's an example:
 He has also produced some lovely 'odd one out' activities:
Both types of activity would work with technologies such as Plickers or Quick Key. Multiple choice questions are making a bit of a comeback at the moment - for more sources, see my post 'Multiple Choice Questions'.

2. Inequality Question
I really like this question from Steve Blades (@m4thsdotcom). Ask your students for the minimum and maximum value of abc to check their understanding of inequalities and integers.
I'll use this with my Year 11s - many of them struggled with the question below in their mock GCSE, which suggests a lack of fundamental understanding of inequality symbols. 
3. Math Wall of Shame
Thanks to Megan Schmidt (@Veganmathbeagle) for sharing Sara VanDerWerf's post 'Math Wall of Shame'. This post provides over 80 pictures including dodgy graphs and incorrect pricing - these are good for inspiring class discussion. Here's a couple of examples:
'Here's a cent, keep the change' 
4. Quick Cover 
Mathsbox is a fantastic website and it's very affordable at only £48 per year. It is full of useful resources and the recently added 'Quick Cover' lessons are a particularly good idea. These are designed for teachers to set as cover when they will be absent from a lesson. They include clear examples, plenty of practice questions and a jigsaw activity. Here's a couple of samples:
There's currently 23 Quick Cover lessons and the collection is growing. 

5. Access Maths
Access Maths is another excellent website with a wide range of worksheets, games and activities to explore. A new set of resources has just been added: Starters and Progress Tests for the new GCSE. 

My post Five things you might not know about the new GCSE content #1 was well received. I promised a second post with five more facts about the new GCSE... I'm working on it but I think I've found some discrepancies between exam boards that I'm investigating. Watch this space!

There's been two announcements since my last gems post that you might be interested in. The first is that the date and venue has been set for researchED Maths and Science. It's on Saturday 11th June in Oxford. I think this will be a fantastic event. I have to attend a wedding reception in Kent that evening so I'll have to leave early, but will definitely be there in the morning. Tickets are likely to sell out quickly.

The second announcement was regarding new tests for times tables. We all agree that fluency in times tables is vital (as is conceptual understanding of multiplication) but there is disagreement over whether more Key Stage 2 tests are desirable.
It's also worth noting another change regarding testing (see above) - from 2017 Year 7 maths teachers will have three months to 'fix' students who did not 'pass' Key Stage 2...

It's been a hectic first week back at school but thankfully this weekend I didn't have any marking to do so I had the opportunity to visit the excellent Escher exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery. It finishes on 17th January so if you want to go then get tickets now! The gallery shop is full of mathsy gifts too.
I'll leave you with a nice demonstration of Pythagoras' Theorem from mathwarehouse.com.


  1. Great post!
    I like to use this video for Pythagoras as it shows the water in real life.


    1. Thanks! I love that too! I featured it in my Pythagoras post last year. http://www.resourceaholic.com/2014/09/pythagoras.html