14 October 2018

5 Maths Gems #96

Welcome to my 96th gems post. This is where I share some of the latest news, ideas and resources for maths teachers.

1. Starting Points
Chris McGrane (@ChrisMcGrane84) has started a new website startingpointsmaths.blogspot.com where he shares a collection of tasks and starting points to help teachers plan for richer and more effective learning experiences. The collection includes rich tasks and intelligent practice for topics from Key Stage 3 to Key Stage 5. There are loads of lovely activities to explore so do visit the website and have a look around. Tasks include suggested teaching points and questions for discussion with learners.
2. Mysteries
Thanks to Richard Perring (@LearningMaths) for sharing a couple of great maths mystery activities - one for completing the square and one for the nth term of a linear sequence. The idea is that learners collate the information from the cards in order to solve the overall problem.
If you like these then buy Richard's ebook Talking Maths, published by the ATM, which contains lots of similar activities.

These tasks remind me of the Durham Maths Mysteries which many teachers have recommended to me over the years.

3. Maths Club Activities
Thanks to Emily Fleming who helps to run a charity called SAMI that supports maths clubs in Africa for emailing me a free maths club pack that teachers and/or students can use to run a maths club. This is a lovely resource full of great activities. Also check out Emily's own maths club website.
4. Formulae
I was intrigued by this 'Spot the Mistake' activity from Stephen Bodman‏ (@stephenbodman). I have no idea how best to get students to memorise formulae, but I think there might be some value in short tasks like this. Here, there is something wrong in each formula and students have to spot what it is.
At GCSE the hardest formulae to learn off by heart are probably the quadratic formula and the Cosine Rule. I ask my students to learn these formulae at home and test themselves until they get it right every time - it sounds so straightforward! Lately my six year old daughter has been trying to learn tricky spellings for her weekly spelling test (words like beautiful) and I'm seeing how much she struggles. I've started to appreciate that memorising some formulae and spellings might be more challenging than it sounds. 

5.  Big Mistake
Speaking of errors, thanks to Sandra at MathsBox (@mathsbox1) for sharing a free Foundation GCSE revision resource. In this activity students spot the mistakes in a collection of algebra questions. I have used the fantastic Higher version of this for years in the run up to GCSE exams. I've added both resources to my 9 - 1 GCSE Revision page.

Lots of great stuff has been shared on Twitter lately so I'll have another gems post out soon. Isn't it lovely that half term is just around the corner? Over half term I hope to finish off a number of posts that I've been working on for a while.

It was shame I couldn't sit down for my usual post-conference chat with Craig yesterday! Alas, he was on holiday. Hopefully we will be back with more mathsconf podcasts next year.

Rather than share a detailed write up of the day, I will just finish my gems post with a few thank yous. Thank you to La Salle Education for again running a huge Saturday event at a very low price for maths teachers, allowing us to attend high quality CPD that we otherwise would not have access to. Thank you to Rob Smith for doing a million things at once including the raffle, tuck shop, MA stand and ATM stand. Thank you to everyone who presented sessions, and everyone who said hello and shared their thoughts with me, and everyone who said encouraging things, and everyone who complimented me on my maths dress! I'm sorry I had to rush around everywhere all day - I had a lot to do! I so love chatting to maths teachers. Special shout out to Jo Locke and David Faram.

I didn't do a topics in depth session this time because I wanted to do something related to old textbooks. I focused on quadratics. I think there's a real lack of this kind of subject knowledge CPD for teachers, so I wanted that to be my focus this time rather than something pedagogical. I think it was well received. My slides are here (they make more sense with my commentary!) - download them to see the references in the notes.

I now have 90 guests coming to #latemaths. I'm excited to announce that I will now be selling mathematical earrings there too (great stocking fillers!), on top of all the other entertainment. There are 10 tickets left and you have one week before sales close! See latemaths.weebly.com for details. 

I'll leave you with this lovely puzzle, shared by Rachael Horsman (@Rach_Read)

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