7 February 2021

5 Maths Gems #141

Welcome to my 141st gems post. This is where I share some of the latest news, ideas and resources for maths teachers. 

1. Tasks
Task designer @ashtonC94 has made a new website mrcowardmaths.wixsite.com to collate his excellent resources. He is gradually populating it with tasks, so do check it out. 

Ashton has shared an activity on plotting coordinates that draws attention to scales in order to tackle common misconceptions. An extract is shown below - click here for the full task.

I also really like Ashton's excellent task on significant figures
Both of these tasks have been added to my resource library.

Maths Gems regular @giftedHKO has also continued to share a number of excellent resources recently, including this task on gradient of a line segment, and many more on her website.

2. Booklets
@ChrisMcGrane84 has started sharing a series of curriculum booklets that he has been working on in conjunction with Siobhan McKenna (@ShivMcKenna55). Read Chris's post for more information. If you were at #mathsconfmini then you can watch Chris discuss how these booklets form an integral part of the design and delivery of his maths curriculum in his talk Designing an Effective Curriculum in Early Secondary

These booklets are packed full of carefully selected tasks from a range of excellent task designers. The booklets are used instead of a scheme of work - they define curriculum order and pedagogical approach.

3. MS Forms Quizzes
Thank you to @timdolan for creating a Padlet for maths teachers to share maths quizzes made in Microsoft Forms. This should save teachers a lot of time, as they don't have to create everything from scratch anymore. If you have been making MS Forms quizzes then please share your quizzes here (as a template) so that others can borrow them. I've added mine!

It's interesting to see a variety of quiz types. My quizzes feature short-answer questions, or multiple choice questions (which I borrow from diagnosticquestions.com) which are automatically marked. But there's a lot more we can do with these quizzes. I received an email from maths teacher Alison Page who turned my Algebra True or False activity into a Forms quiz. Looking at this, it occurred to me that it would be easy to turn an 'always, sometimes, never' activity into a Forms quiz, with spaces to write explanations.  Another option for turning existing worksheets and activities into online versions is teachermade.com

If you are a MS Forms user then you might be interested in this post from @andrewkbailey13 about giving feedback to students. My team have been giving lots of feedback but we have been concerned that our students haven't been reading it - this post answered our questions about how it works from a student perspective!

4. A Level Example-Problem Pairs
Thanks to @acutelearning for sharing a large set of A Level Maths and Further Maths example-problem pair slides with answers. These are freely available to download from TES.

5. Mr Draper's Blog Posts
Mr Draper (@MrDraperMaths) has been busy writing a series of excellent blog posts lately. They all feature cleverly thought-out tasks and teaching approaches. For example, this post on Understanding Angle Labels addresses a number of difficulties that students commonly experience when learning to solve angle problems.
Another example is this excellent post on reasoning with frequency trees:

And a great post about perimeter:

Read Dan's blog for lots more like this.

It's been a busy time for everyone. I don't know about you, but my online lessons are still taking ages to plan, so I'm spending entire weekends working. I'm not doing anything fancy in my lessons, but explanations and tasks need really careful thought. I also have a lot going on in my other roles at school - I'm responsible for reports, parents evenings, Year 9 options and so on - and all of that has been really full-on in the last few weeks! Roll on half-term.

In case you missed it, here are my most recent blog posts:

I recently recorded a podcast with Craig Barton where I discussed what I am doing for online lessons. Do have a listen!

I also presented at two conferences: at #mathsconfmini I did an evening presentation on teaching quadratics, and at the White Rose Secondary Maths Brunch I presented on task design. 

I hope to do a longer version of my task design presentation at the MA Conference this Easter, if my proposal is accepted. Also, following a lot of thinking recently about how to introduce probability in an accessible way to my Year 9s, I have submitted a proposal to speak about probability at #mathsconf25 in March. 

Finally, I recently produced a Topics in Depth CPD video for Loughborough University Mathematics Education Network which you can access here. It covers curriculum, history, misconceptions and resources.

I'll leave you with a pie chart that I spotted recently, which is probably one of the worst pie charts I have ever seen.

Stay safe, maths teachers!