19 January 2020

5 Maths Gems #120

Welcome to my 120th gems post. This is where I share some of the latest news, ideas and resources for maths teachers.

1. GCSE Tips
TeachIt Maths and AQA published a free guide 'GCSE mathematics - small things make a big difference'. It's designed to help Year 11 students prepare for their GCSEs. Teachers might go through it in class before mocks or final exams.

It's packed full of example responses from real GCSE papers and contains a lot of helpful information for teachers and students.

2. Tutor Time Activities
Thank you to @AccessMaths for sharing a large collection of form time numeracy activities.

3. Number Bonds Chart
Thank you to Jonathan Hall (@StudyMaths) for sharing a new number bonds chart on his awesome website MathsBot. This is an interactive version based of the chart shared by the NCETM in 2017.
4.  Vocabulary
Thanks to Ben Gordon (@mathsmrgordon) for sharing a visual summary of techniques to improve students' maths vocabulary. This might be a helpful thing to discuss at a maths department meeting.

5. Goal-Free Paper
The 'goal-free effect' is discussed in Craig  Barton's book How I Wish I Taught Maths. There are numerous goal-free resources available to download, or you could make your own. Ed Southall adapted a whole GCSE paper to make it goal-free: you can download it here. Some of the questions in this paper work really well with the goal removed. The idea is that students work out what they can from the information given. This often encourages less confident students to have a go at questions that they previously might have skipped.

Another one of my topics in depth video podcasts with Craig Barton was recently published by TES. This one is on angles in parallel lines. I hope people are finding these useful. We're recording a couple more in February half-term.

Last weekend I attended BrewEd Maths in Croydon. It was a brilliant event and I really enjoyed it.

I've had to cut down on conferences this year because I'm really busy at work, but I'm looking forward to #mathsconf22 in Manchester in March - I've booked my hotel and train. See my conferences page for a list of upcoming maths events.

This big event of the year for me is the new-look MA and NANAMIC Easter conference which I blogged about here. Ticket sales have been excellent so far, which means that the MA has been able to extend the early-bird discount to the end of January. With that discount it only costs £299 to attend the whole conference which includes food and accommodation at a lovely spa hotel, and a fantastic programme of speakers and activities. Rates are cheaper for trainees and NQTs, and there's the option of attending just part of the conference for those who can't make all three days.

I've been really pleased to see people learning new methods from my book A Compendium of Mathematical Methods which was published in December.

It's wonderful to see maths teachers discussing methods, which is exactly what I hoped would happen. I love this blog post from Jack Nicol (@geomathsblog) where he summarises a discussion with his maths department on methods for factorising non-monic quadratics.

Did you hear that Craig Barton has a new book coming out? I'm lucky enough to have read it already. It's excellent. I know it is going to be very popular. It's out next month but you can pre-order it here.
Another new book out is Clarissa Grandi's Artful Maths. There is a teacher book and an activity book - you can buy them from Tarquin. I've been using Clarissa's beautiful website artfulmaths.com this week to help me set up my new origami club.

I'll leave you with this interesting bit of etymology which was shared by @solvemymaths on Twitter last week: the word average comes from the apportionment of financial liability from goods lost or damaged at sea.


  1. Hi Jo...was trying to find your angles PowerPoint slides. Have just started following you this morning.I'm a scottish primary teacher.

    1. Hi. Slides are here: https://www.resourceaholic.com/p/topics-in-depth.html. Thanks for following!