4 June 2017

5 Maths Gems #73

Welcome to my 73rd gems post. This is where I share some of the latest news, ideas and resources for maths teachers.

1. GCSE Paper 2 and 3
So, we've had the first new GCSE papers! Like everyone else, I was full of nerves and excitement on the day. Years of preparation and it finally happened. Many teachers will see their Year 11 students for revision sessions at some point over the next two weeks. If you're looking for resources for those sessions, check out Adam Creen's post where he has collated all the practice papers for Edexcel that were made after Paper 1. There's a lot to choose from! If you're AQA then head over to corbettmaths.com for practice papers. Students should continue to revise all topics, even if they appeared on Paper 1, but these resources are helpful for focusing specifically on topics that haven't yet come up.
2. GCSE Workout
Sticking with GCSE revision - a lot of people (including me) used @Adam SmithMathsnon-calculator Higher workout with their Year 11s the day before Paper 1. It took my students a good 45 minutes to complete, and uncovered a number of gaps in their knowledge. I've now made a calculator version - you can download this Higher GCSE workout from TES. Thanks to @onechriswhite who has made a helpful tip sheet to go with this resource

I've also created two shorter calculator workouts. These are intended to be used in pre-exam breakfast revision sessions and should each take 15 - 30 minutes. You can download my breakfast workouts from TES.
I've mentioned before that intermediate papers are a good source of GCSE practice questions, and it turns out that an intermediate question from 1997 was reused in this year's Edexcel Paper 1 (both Foundation and Higher) - thanks to Jo Weaver for spotting this. This is something to bear in mind for future years - old intermediate questions probably won't be used again, but intermediate papers remain a helpful resource for GCSE students.

3. Parabolator
On the odd occasion that I make my own resources, I sometimes need an online tool to sketch a simple graph. When I made my quadratic inequalities resource I used graphsketch.com, but even that isn't quite as clutter-free as I'd like. I'm pleased that @theshauncarter has now made a lovely user-friendly tool called Parabolator. With this tool you simply move a parabola to the required position and mark some points, then the sketch is instantly available to paste into resources. Read Shaun's post for more information.
4. A Level Summer Work
I find that setting summer work for students before they start A level maths is a bit hit-and-miss, particularly given that some students don't decide they want to do maths until the first day of Year 12. But, like many schools, we do have A level induction days coming up and this is a good opportunity to set some kind of preparatory tasks for our Year 11s who plan to take maths next year.

It's worth reading Kim Pitchford's (@ms_kmp) post 'Pre-A level skills boost'. She has produced a booklet full of enriching maths-related activities that students can do over summer, including playing Sumaze and watching Numberphile videos.

Another tool that's worth a look is Bridge It! which is an excellent MEI quiz game to support preparation for post-GCSE maths. Students register and then work their way through a series of levels ranging from basic arithmetic to trigonometry and vectors. 
5. Problems Booklet
Sandra from mathsbox.org.uk has shared a free booklet containing 55 maths problems.
This prompted me to tidy up my Problem Solving Resources page where you'll find similar resources for both primary and secondary school students.

In case you missed them, here are my recent posts:

Over the coming months I'll probably be blogging a fair amount about preparing for the new A level. As soon as I get some gained time it will be my main focus. There's lots to do - schemes of work, resources, content splits and so on. I'll be preparing to teach mechanics for the first time too.

I'm speaking at two conferences in the coming months - #mathsconf10 in London and #mathsconf11 in Cardiff. Both are on Saturdays and only cost £25 so do come along if you can. My workshops are part of a new series of talks where I will look in depth at specific topics, speaking about approaches, misconceptions and resources.

I will also be attending the JustMaths Conference on 27th June which I'm really looking forward to.

Tickets are currently on sale for my exciting summer maths teachers' event - check out summaths.weebly.com for details.

On my @Team_Maths1 account I've shared some classic resources over half-term, so if you're on Twitter do check it out.

Finally, I'll leave you with a nice puzzle shared by @solvemymaths via @sansu_original. I don't often make time to try random maths puzzles but I had a quick go at this and enjoyed it! What's the ratio AB:BC?


  1. Really, thanks a lot for this.

    Also, I surmise the ratio of AB:BC is Sq.root(3):2

    1. Have a look at the thread for solutions: https://twitter.com/solvemymaths/status/870877461583720448

    2. @Sieraj: I think AB:BC is 27:64 - from (Sq.root(3))^6 : (2)^6

  2. Worth having a look at http://brixlearning.com for a GCSE to A Level online bridging course.

    1. Thank you! I keep forgetting about Brix! Definitely going to look into it this week.