23 October 2018

5 Maths Gems #97

Welcome to my 97th gems post. This is where I share some of the latest news, ideas and resources for maths teachers.

1. Loci Match Up

Miss Konstantine (@GiftedBA) has shared a new loci activity. The square has side length 18cm, E is the midpoint of the square and the radius of the circle is 5cm. Students need to work out what colours match each statement, and find the area of each of the coloured sections. Alternatively you can give them the diagram and ask them and write their own statements.
I do love a loci activity that doesn't involve pairs of compasses...

It's worth following @GiftedBA on Twitter because she often shares ideas, resources and examples of student work. Check out her most recent post 'Squares/Roots using Area', and her post 'Circumference and Area of a Circle' in which she suggests an activity where students identify errors from a list. 
Inspired by this, Sarah Evans (@maths_missevans) has been trying out 'Find and Fix with Feedback' tasks. Having a list of feedback statements to choose from helps students to identify and understand mistakes and misconceptions.
2. Calculator Posters
Casio (@CasioMaths) has shared a set of high resolution posters of the Classwiz calculator for A level classrooms.
3. Pythagoras
James and Nicola from MathsPad have shared another lovely set of resources. I love their new worksheet and interactive tool for 3D Pythagoras.
MathsPad's October update was packed full of new resources for trigonometry and Pythagoras. One example is the set of Pythagoras puzzles where students are given one side and a set of possible answers for the other two. As James says, this might nudge thinking towards the theorem's converse.

Subscribe to MathsPad to access the full collection.

4. Equipment Check
A level teacher Stuart Price @sxpmaths shared some things he's trying this year when marking assessments. His tests now include an equipment check for four marks - this a fun way of getting students to bring the right equipment to lessons!
Stuart uses a 'mistake' stamp when he is sure his A level students can self-correct and a 'misconception' stamp when something is fundamentally wrong.
5. Algebraic Area
Thanks to Catriona Shearer (@Cshearer41) for sharing a great set of resources on TES that she created as part of the Mathematical Reasoning at GCSE project run by Cambridge Maths Hub. I've recently discovered that lots of excellent resources are made by Maths Hub workgroups that don't end up being widely shared and I'm determined to change that!

Catriona's Algebraic Area Reasoning Tasks are based on a WJEC GCSE question about forming and solving a quadratic equation for the area of two rectangles. The tasks vary in difficulty.
For a similar set of area tasks with a more numerical approach see Catriona's Compound Area Reasoning Tasks. Also check out her set of Probability Reasoning Tasks (based on the infamous Hannah's Sweets question).

It's great that Catriona is involved in developing resources for Maths Hubs given the quality of her puzzles, which I wrote about in Gems 94. You can now download three pages of Catriona's beautiful puzzles here.
I was excited to have an article about indices published in Teach Secondary magazine. It includes ten ingredients to teach indices in depth, but those ten ingredients could apply to any topic so do have a read. The full article is online here. You can also download a free resource containing four activities which you might find useful when teaching index notation.
Also look out for my article in next month's Teach Secondary magazine about algebraic order of operations.

On Friday I met up with Megan Guinan after school and we went along to the launch of Chalkdust Magazine Issue 8 at my old university UCL. We had a great time and really enjoyed the quiz. Chalkdust magazine is brilliant - you can read Issue 8 online, and if you're coming to my LateMaths event on Saturday then you'll be able to pick up a copy.
All 100 tickets have been sold for LateMaths and I've been busy making all the final arrangements over the last few days. I can't wait!

If you're a teacher in London then do join one of my Maths Hub workgroups! I'm supporting the workgroup led by Chris Reilly on the Challenging Topics in the New GCSE. In this workgroup we'll look closely at the teaching of ratio and hopefully develop and trial some new resources for this topic. I'm also supporting Carlos Karingal on the London-wide Developing A Level Pedagogy workgroup which will meet at Chestnut Grove in Balham. I'm so excited about this workgroup - I think it will have a big impact on my A level teaching. Get in touch if you want more information. Everyone is welcome to get involved.

I'll leave you with the New York Regents archive website which was shared by Benjamin Dickman (@benjamindickman). It's beautifully organised by topic and year, containing exam questions going back to 1866. I love stuff like this!


  1. Re no. 152: Somewhere in the distant past I read that a link was 7.92 inches (or maybe 7.92 feet). Am I right, and is that measure ever used nowadays? What is its origin? I presume it is nothing to do with golf links.

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