16 March 2018

5 Maths Gems #85

Welcome to my 85th gems post. This is where I share some of the latest news, ideas and resources for maths teachers.

1. SSDD and Venns
In case you haven't heard, Craig Barton (@mrbartonmaths) launched two new websites last week: ssddproblems.com and mathsvenns.com.

I first blogged about the 'Same Surface Different Deep' idea after Craig introduced it at the JustMaths conference last June. The idea is that we have a set of problems where the surfaces are similar (eg all isosceles triangles) but the deep structures (ie the topics) are different. It's brilliant to see this idea taking off in classrooms all over the world now that Craig has shared a large collection of SSDD problems.
Craig explains how and why to use these problems, and invites contributions, on ssddproblems.com. It's also worth reading Michael Pershan's (@mpershan) post "When is it helpful to make a bunch of different problems look the same?" and Karen Campe's (@KarenCampe) post "Looking Below the Surface".

Craig's second new website, mathsvenns.com, features a large collection of Venn-based rich tasks.

These tasks are excellent. Again, Craig is inviting contributions to this site so if you have a great Venn idea, email it to Craig for inclusion.

2. Pi Display
If you're looking for a display to brighten up your maths corridor, you might like this lovely 'First 1000 Digits of Pi' display from Jae Ess (@jaegetsreal). This display sparked some lovely conversations between students at Jae's school.
I've added this to my page of maths display resources.

3. Convince Me That
Daniel Kaufmann (@KauDan721) has created a set of 'Convince Me That' problems. Giving students the answer, rather than asking them to find the answer, allows them to focus on different aspects of the problem (the how, the why, the process).
Teachers are invited to contribute their own problems to this collection.

4. Minimally Different Questions
Jess (@FortyNineCubed) has created a new collection of minimally different problems. These are carefully structured so students can make connections between each question. Topics covered include solving equations with brackets, ratio, dividing negative numbers, multiplying negative numbers and solving equations.
5. Literacy
On Twitter I shared some word trees from membean.com that I use when talking to my students about vocabulary. For example when teaching percentages, I like to ask students where else they have heard the word cent. Their answers are always brilliant!
Other root trees with mathematical links include bi, uni, dia, equ, multi, tricircum and poly. I'm grateful to Maggie Harnew (@skillsworkshop) for sharing her lovely word maps for the numbers one and two. There's so much to explore here.
I had a great time at the Kettering maths conference last weekend - you can read my write up here and listen to my post-conference podcast with Craig Barton here.

In the podcast I promised that I'd set up a page to share knowledge organisers. My colleague Andy has been using knowledge organisers very effectively this year and he has given me permission to share some of his to get the page started. If you've made knowledge organisers that you're happy to share, please send me a link and I'll include them on this page.

On Monday I ran a 20 minute CPD session on GCSE revision for my colleagues (mainly focused on resources). My slides are here if you'd like to borrow them. Links are in the notes section on each slide.

In other news...
  • Dr Madas has published some IYGB papers for the AS pure content of the new A level (Paper L, Paper P, Paper Q and Paper R). Given how little exam practice material there is for our current Year 12s, these are really helpful!
  • Dr Frost is organising another maths teacher social event on Friday 13th April in Surrey. All welcome!
  • Chris McGrane wrote a great post on planning a lesson on integration which is worth a read if you teach A level.
  • If you're looking for an Easter-themed resource for the end of term, try Chris Smith's Easter relay
  • There are only a few residential tickets left for BCME!  It starts in two and a half weeks - I can't wait. 

I'll leave you this with excellent puzzle from Brilliant, shared by Mark Horley (@mhorley). 

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