8 April 2020

5 Maths Gems #125

Welcome to my 125th gems post. This is where I share some of the latest news, ideas and resources for maths teachers.

I have a reason for publishing this gems post so soon after my last one! A teacher emailed me an Easter treasure hunt that students can do at home and I realised that if I don't publish it today, it will be too late. So here you go. Two blog posts in a week - it's like a flashback to 2014 when I was a super keen newbie blogger with a million things to say.

1. Treasure Hunt
Thank you to maths teacher Emily Fleming who has written a maths Easter egg treasure hunt for each year group in Years 10 to 13 at her school. The idea is to send the clues to the parents and they hide the clues and eggs for their kids. You can download these treasure hunts here. Read about Emily's maths charity work in Gems 96.
Related to this - I love the idea of using chalk to write maths problems on pavements for people to solve when out doing their daily exercise. I saw this tweeted by @5BMT5B. The hashtag is #mathwalk.
2. Year 6 SATs Generator
Solomon Kingsnorth (@solomon_teach) created a clever generator which clones any past Key Stage 2 arithmetic paper and changes the questions each time.
3. More-Same-Less
Last month Ashton Coward (@ashtonC94) and Peter Mattock (@MrMattock) launched a new website called More-Same-Less. The tasks are inspired by the work of John Mason - read a description of how they work here. Teachers are able to submit tasks for inclusion on the website.

Here's an example of a more-less-same task, created by Ashton Coward:
4. Jenga Views
Thanks to David Butler (@DavidKButlerUoA) for creating a set of Jenga Views puzzles. Children are provided with plans and elevations and use Jenga Blocks to build the corresponding structures.

5. School Closure Resources
As in my last two posts, here are some resources that have been made available to support school closures:
  • Some teachers now have a rare opportunity for weekday CPD, so La Salle is offering a series of CPD webinars for maths teachers. The feedback for these has been excellent and the cost is very low.
  • It's surprising to see the Government endorsing websites, but I can see why they've done it in these circumstances. The list for maths, which was provided by the NCETM, is long (we have so much more than other subjects!) and may be helpful for teachers and parents.
  • Pearson has provided free access to maths textbooks (click on view e-books).  You just need to accept the terms of use and then go to 'Edexcel GCSE (9-1) Maths' or 'Maths Progress' (for Key Stage 3).
  • STEM Centre (@STEMLearningUK) has shared a calendar of free mathematical activities for independent learning at home every day for all of next term. 

I don't have much to update you on to be honest. Apart from a few days at school, I have mainly been sitting at home...  If you missed it, do check out my recent podcast with Craig Barton here. And remember that my topics in depth videos and my book A Compendium of Mathematical Methods might help you while away the hours in lockdown.

Finally, do check out this lovely set of 'Corona Conundrum' puzzles from Chris Smith (@aap03102).


Stay safe, maths teachers. x


  1. Dear Jo
    Thank as always for your post - I always learn something or pick up a new idea.
    In our current situation I hope you might help me a little more. I have been trying with no success to contact Pearson and request digital access to KS5 texts. Sadly the link above doesn't work, and despite 3 attempts via their website I have got nowhere (no reply even to junk mail). We own lots of their text books but they are in school and our students are not. We need to move on to the next text books after Easter.
    Any bright ideas?

    1. Sue
      Have you tried contacting them on social media?

    2. Hi Sue

      I have updated the link - apologies that it was broken. It doesn't have KS5 though. I will look into it - bear with me.