25 October 2020

5 Maths Gems #136

Welcome to my 136th gems post. This is where I share some of the latest news, ideas and resources for maths teachers.

Shout out to all the teachers who've just worked the most challenging seven weeks of their career! I hope you get the chance to rest over half-term. 

1. Countdown
Miss Konstantine (@giftedHKO) enjoys using Countdown games with her classes (she uses this online version - I do too, but I wish it included the classic Countdown music!). She decided to create a different version of this activity, to scale back the number of values and have lots of targets. I love what she has come up with. You can download these activities from her excellent blog.

2. Quadratic Formula Flowchart
Nathan Day (@nathanday314) shared this flowchart for using the quadratic formula, which helps students both see the big picture and focus in on individual stages. He's made one for right-angled trigonometry too, and there are more flowcharts like this still to come!

3. Refreshing Revision
Thank you to Colleen Young (@ColleenYoung) for sharing Refreshing Revision from Transum. This is a custom starter builder - scroll down to the bottom of the page where you can select the number of questions and the topics to include, and rearrange the order if required. 

There are a number of similar starter generating tools available, but a helpful feature of this one is that you can save your starter with a URL which can then be sent to students. This may be handy if you're setting work remotely. In fact there are a number of features of Transum which are helpful when setting work remotely, including online worksheets which automatically mark students' work.

4. Powers Task
Chris McGrane (@ChrisMcGrane84) shared a great task exploring equivalent representations of negative indices, fractions and division. I wish I'd had this a few weeks ago when I introduced negative indices to my Year 8s!

Chris McGrane and Mark McCourt's book Mathematical Tasks has recently been published. It's packed full of brilliant tasks and expert insight and reflection. It's definitely a must-read for maths teachers. Chris very kindly featured some of my anecdotes about using Don Steward tasks too.
5. Sketches
Sudeep (@boss_maths) tweeted about students' reluctance to draw sketches. He said that this is because they've not practised using sketches, so they wouldn't know what to do with a sketch even if they knew to draw it in the first place. To develop the skill of using sketches effectively, he created an applet and a series of tasks where students can first focus on already-drawn sketches.

Marvellous Maths 2
I'm so excited that Marvellous Maths 2 has now gone live. This is an online CPD course for maths teachers that I have created with Craig Barton. It was a lot of hard work and I am really pleased with the result. For £30 you can access the entire course, and once you have access you don't have to do the whole lot in one go. It is packed full of tonnes of content, including loads of awesome resources that you might not have seen before. I hope maths teachers enjoy it and find it has a positive impact on their practice. Read more about it here.

Some things you might have missed...
  • The JCQ is currently consulting on the A level and GCSE Summer 2021 provisional timetable. The consultation runs until 30 October so do act quickly if you want to have a say. 
  • Jonny Hall (@studymaths) shared a new camera tool that allows visualiser users to display multiple images on the screen at once.
  • I've long been a big fan of Don Steward's boxes tasks so I read Sam Blatherwick's (@blatherwick_sam) recent blog post with interest. It's a great post - well worth a read. 
  • Dan Draper (@MrDraperMaths) shared a great blog post about using defamiliarisation and prompts to encourage mathematical thinking with rounding.

I really enjoyed chatting to Craig Barton about Key Stage 3 maths teaching on his podcast. You can listen here

I'll leave you with this statistics joke, which was created by @enitsirhcsd and shared by @annaegalite on Twitter.

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