11 February 2018

5 Maths Gems #83

Welcome to my 83rd gems post. This is where I share some of the latest news, ideas and resources for maths teachers. Many of us are on half term this week, which is a great relief as usual. Time to catch up on some sleep, spend some time with my children, and get on top of my growing to do list. If you haven't had much time for Twitter lately, this post features some things that you might have missed.

1. Find Me... Problems
Mr Hill (@MathsWithMrHill) has shared a collection of lovely Find Me.. Problems. There are 30 tasks so far, covering a wide range of topics. These are easy to use and easy to adapt.
2. Algebra Starter Pack
Ed Southall (@solvemymaths) shared a great set of 'introduction to algebra' lesson activities on TES.
3. A Level Questions and Assessment
I first mentioned Markit in Gems 79. I've now explored it in more detail and have realised that it's a really useful website for teachers of the new A level. Register for free and you can access a large selection of well written questions for both the new and old A level specifications.
Each question comes with very detailed worked solutions. I've been using the questions as examples in class but they can also be assigned online to students. For free, you can set three online worksheets per class - this is about three hours of work for each student. By upgrading, you unlock all the other content.

In related news, Edexcel's new mock papers were due to be published in late January but have been delayed. Given that my school has Year 12 mocks straight after half-term, this meant I ended up making my own assessment. It took hours to make and I drew questions from a number of sources - I am happy to email it to anyone else in the same position! Just let me know if you need it.

Note also that CRASHMaths recently published a large set of new A level practice papers. My students are using these to revise for their upcoming mocks.

Finally, whilst I'm on the subject of A level, you might be interested in the outcome of this Twitter poll regarding teaching time for Further Maths.
4. Primary 'Topics in Depth'
I have previously blogged about the importance of subject specific CPD. I think that maths teachers need CPD that focuses on misconceptions, approaches, methods and activities for individual topics. I started designing CPD like this last year and although I'm still working on it, my progress has been very slow because my workload is so heavy this year and these things take a long time to produce.  Thankfully I have a wonderful collaborator called Nikki Martin (@nikki_nzmartin), who I met at an ATM/MA event last summer. She has been busy producing Topics in Depth packs for Year 6 and Year 2 topics, and piloting them in the primary schools she supports. She has very generously shared her work on my Topics in Depth page.
5. Shape Transformations 
Every month I get an update of new resources from MathsPad and it's always full of great stuff. Some of it is freely available, including a few of these interactive tools and worksheets for transformations. The tracing paper overlays work really well here, enabling the teacher to demonstrate while pupils complete the matching questions.

In my last post I shared a set of old textbook exercises that have been typed up for use in lessons. There's some great questions in these exercises so do check them out.
Last week my blog had its three millionth visit. Thank you to everyone who visits regularly - I'm so glad people find it useful. I really appreciate all the support. 

Last week I also got a new job! In September I'll be joining the Harris Federation, supporting maths teachers in a number of Harris schools. I'll also be getting involved in their Maths Hub work. I'm really sad to leave behind my lovely school that has been so good to me, and my colleagues and students who I'll really miss, but excited about this next step in my career and all the opportunities it will bring. Huge thanks to Colin, Bruno, Craig, Ed and Tom for all their advice on this big decision.

It's only four weeks until the Kettering conference now - I hope to see lots of you at the Friday night drinks. If I don't catch you at the drinks, do come and say hello at the conference - I'll be on the MA stand when I'm not in workshops. The line up of workshops is fantastic so I'm really looking forward to it.

There are another couple of new events coming up that are now open for bookings:
  • Stuart Price is hosting his third annual 'Maths in the Sticks' event for A level teachers at his beautiful school in the Surrey Hills. 
  • Equals, the MA's magazine for SEND in mathematics education, is hosting an event in London in June. Details here.
I've added both of these events to my conferences page.

Finally, as part of my role as the Chair of the MA's Publicity and Media Committee, I've made a selection of excellent MA journal articles available for free. If you enjoy these articles, I hope this encourages you to join the MA.

I'll leave you with this factorisation puzzle, shared by @YohakuPuzzle. Fill in cells to get the products in each row/column.

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