25 May 2019

5 Maths Gems #111

Welcome to my 111th gems post. This is where I share some of the latest news, ideas and resources for maths teachers.

1. Multiplication Tasks
In a Twitter chat on multiplication I saw two nice resources shared. First, Sharon Malley (@mathsmumof2) mentioned these 7 Times Table Reasoning Activities by krisgreg30 on TES. These tasks require children to use known facts to reason how to solve other calculations.

Second, Jonathan Hall (@StudyMaths) shared a lovely task he designed for his Year 7s to get them thinking a bit deeper.

2. MathByExample
Three years ago I wrote about AlgebraByExample in Gems 54. This set of tasks prompts students to analyse and explain misconceptions in algebra problems.

The team at SERP Institute (@SERPInstitute) have now launched their MathByExample website. The tasks are similar to AlgebraByExample but they are for topics that children meet at Key Stage 2.
There are loads of great tasks to explore on this website. In each case children are given a correct answer and an incorrect answer with questions about each one, and then they are asked to solve similar problems themselves.

The question prompts help children develop a better understanding of each concept.

3. Compound Area
Amie Albrecht (@nomad_penguin) shared a smart way to take a standard textbook-style exercise and add a higher level of thinking. Instead of just completing the exercise, pupils are asked to consider the features and difficultly level of each problem before deciding which problems to solve.

4. Linear Sequences
Thanks to Dan Lewis (@4301maths) for sharing a series of tasks on linear sequences.

Follow Dan on Twitter for more like this, including examples of his pupils' work.

5. Question Generators
Thanks to Jonathan Payne (@DrPMaths) who has built a collection of helpful question generators.

For example if you are creating some angle questions for your explanations or for your pupils to practise, then you can use his missing angles generator to create a set of customised questions.

And here's one that creates arithmagons.

I've been busy making more GCSE revision resources. This is the last time I'll do this for a while because next year I'll only be teaching Key Stage 3.

Because the non-calculator revision mats and the calculator revision mats I recently made went down well with pupils, I was asked by a colleague to make another set. So now I have a second set of calculator revision mats. Again, they have four levels of difficulty so you can pick the right level for your pupils.
I also made a Higher and Foundation 'Spot the Mistake' revision activity for something a bit different.

I also made a couple of revision mats with topics that might come up on AQA Paper 2. These are just a collation of questions taken from Maths Genie. Because these are 'temporary' resources (ie designed specifically to prepare for AQA Paper 2 June 2019), these are not on TES but are linked through Adam Creen's blog. Every year Adam pulls together all the 'between-paper' resources on his blog for easy access.

Don't forget you can use my breakfast resources as pre-exam warm-ups before Paper 2 and Paper 3. And my GCSE revision post continues to be the place where I collate all free GCSE revision resources (with the exception of the 'between-exam' resources that have a limited shelf-life).


I was delighted to announce this week that I will be teaming up with Craig Barton to offer two full day training courses in late October. Visit mathscpd.weebly.com for all the information. Bookings are already going well.

My recent post 'Calculator Woes' rung true with many teachers. It was selected as a Schools Week 'Top Blog of the Week' by Amir Arezoo and featured in Ollie Lovell's weekly Twitter takeaways. I think there's quite a serious problem with calculator skills across the country and I really hope to see teachers try to remedy this by getting lots of Year 6s and Year 7s involved in MEI's Calculator Crunch next month.

Thanks to Teresa Robinson at The Russell Education Trust who used my post to create a lesson on calculator skills.

Thanks also to @pgonlinepub for sharing a free worksheet on the 'Top 5 calculator hacks for GCSE Maths'.

Yesterday I had coffee with Simon Singh, the author of my favourite maths book. We discussed what parents can do to encourage and support their mini-mathematicians at home. Simon mentioned the coding app Box Island. When I got home I downloaded for my daughters. It's awesome!

By the way, if you don't currently receive the MA's eNewsletter then you can sign up here. I've been working with Ed Southall to relaunch it. From now on it will include an exclusive monthly puzzle for your pupils to try - one for primary and one for secondary. Sign up now!

I'll leave you with this graph, shared on Twitter by @lizardbill, which is probably the best example I have ever seen of a really really bad graph. There are more amusingly terrible graphs in the thread.

Enjoy half term!

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