13 March 2021

5 Maths Gems #142

Welcome to my 142nd gems post. This is where I share some of the latest news, ideas and resources for maths teachers. 

1. Times Table Packs
Thank you to Sarah Farrell (@SarahFarrellKS2) for sharing a set of times table packs. Each one has a 25 different activities aimed at targeting conceptual knowledge and quick recall in each multiplication table. These will be very useful to primary teachers, and I can imagine that they'll also be a helpful resource in secondary interventions.

2. Website
Thank you to Matt Woodfine (@PiXLMattTheApp) for sharing his website
mathswhiteboard.com. This website features examples pairs, mini whiteboard activities, retrieval practice, a worksheet generator, starter activities, class interactive keypads and more. It's all free and easy to use, and Matt has done a lot of work on it recently.

3. Tasks
There have been loads of great tasks shared on Twitter recently. I have probably missed many of them, but here's a selection:


4. Virtual Escape Rooms
Thank you to Grant Whitaker for sharing three online maths escape rooms that he has made: one for Key Stage 1, one for Key Stage 2 and one for Key Stage 3.
Some of my readers have asked about maths escape rooms before. Grant asked me to share a link to an online course where teachers can learn how to make an online escape room. 

5. Foundation Booklets
Thank you to Mr Kingsley (@KingsleyMaths) for sharing a set of Foundation GCSE booklets. Each task contains ten 1/2 mark questions, which can be used as lesson starters. They build up in difficulty in both calculator and non-calculator topics.

I have a page of GCSE revision resources here.

I am having a tough time at the moment to be honest. I was so excited to get back in the classroom and I spent a long time preparing to teach some awesome topics, but ridiculous lateral flow test policies have sent many of my students home already. This has upset me. On top of that, being the member of SLT in charge of cover in a year with high staff absence has finally broken me. But Easter is round the corner (a much-needed break after my Covid-filled Christmas) and I'm sure things will improve in the summer term.

Before my teaching of Pythagoras to Year 8 was interrupted, I'd delivered a lovely lesson revising squares and square roots (with and without a calculator) - this is a really important pre-requisite skill in this topic, so I feel that it was time well spent.

In case you missed them, my most recent blog posts were:

If you haven't already booked, don't forget to get a ticket for the MA's April conference which is coming up soon. If you're not sure, just check out the workshops on offer! They are fantastic, and it's amazing that you can access them on demand for only £10.

Thank you to La Salle for running #mathsconf25 today, and to all the speakers. This was the seventh year in a row that I have attended a maths conference on Pi Day weekend!  Thank you to everyone who came to my session on GCSE Topics: What and How?. I focused mainly on simultaneous equations. The video will be released by La Salle soon. 

Thank you also to people who have bought a copy of my book A Compendium of Mathematical Methods over the last fourteen months. It took a lot of time and effort to write a book, and it's hard to be a female author in a male-dominated field, so I really appreciate the support. I probably don't tell people about my book as often as I should, because promoting your own book seems to bring disapproval from many. I need to stop shying away from it though - the tiny amount of extra income is helping me slowly save for a small loft conversion so my daughter can have her own bedroom, so it is important to me. If you want to 'try before you buy' then there's a sample chapter here, and a free Seneca course here which covers two chapters.

I'll leave you with this fun iceberg drawing tool from @JoshData. I love this!



  1. Jo you are an amazing and inspirational educator who does so much for the maths teaching community. If you were to set up a page where we can support you through a one off donation or membership (Something like https://www.buymeacoffee.com/) I’d love to contribute. All the best for a wonderful Easter 😊

  2. I would happily buy you a coffee too! Gems posts are fab.

  3. Thank you both! Very kind. I already have a Buy Me a Coffee page. It’s linked from the top right of my blog. If you can’t see it, you must be viewing in mobile view. Click ‘web version ’ at the bottom for the full website. :) Thank you!

  4. Thank you, that's very kind of you