3 April 2021

5 Maths Gems #143

Welcome to my 143rd gems post. This is where I share some of the latest news, ideas and resources for maths teachers. 

1. Place Value Tool
When making the CPD course Marvellous Maths 2 I struggled to find a virtual manipulatives tool that really effectively conveyed the relative sizes of tenths, hundredths, thousandths and so on. Luckily James and Nicola from MathsPad watched the course and this prompted them to go off and make one!

What they have produced is incredible. Freely available to all, this tool gives you the opportunity to fully explore place value with students to really deepen their understanding. 

Do have a play with it. It's awesome.

James and Nicola have also started publishing their Curriculum Booklets which are packed full of brilliant activities. Read their latest update for more information about their excellent booklets. 

2.  Powers
I really like the ideas explained in this Twitter thread from Sam Blatherwick (@blatherwick_sam). When teaching fractional powers, he gives his students a power chart like this:

Students can use these charts to answer questions like this:

Read Sam's thread for the full description of how he uses this chart to develop understanding. 

I really like this. It reminded me of my favourite indices resources - Mental Mathemagician from yummymath.com, and 3 Power Line and 5 Power Line from Don Steward.

3. New App
I don't often feature resources that aren't free but this one caught my eye. The Arc Maths app (@ArcMathsApphas been developed by a maths teacher and looks rather good. 

It's aimed at students aged 11 - 16 and gives users a highly personalised experience. Schools with access to iPads can subscribe and make use of this app in the maths classroom, in tutor time or in intervention. 

I don't know many state schools with class sets of iPads, but it's worth knowing that parents can subscribe to this app for their child at a cost of £3.49 a month. This may be something that schools can advise parents to invest in if they ask for ideas of how to help boost their child's maths grade.

4. CPD
The collection of free CPD videos from the Loughborough University Mathematics Education Network is brilliant. Maths teachers looking for CPD for either themselves or their department would benefit from exploring the videos on offer. The latest addition is Improving Language Use in Maths by Dani Quinn.

5. Simple Linear Graphs
As I mentioned in Gems 141, Dan Draper (@MrDraperMaths) has published loads of great blog posts lately. His post 'x=a, y=b: When?' looks at curriculum and concept development through a series of well-designed tasks.


I enjoyed the first day of the MA conference. Delegates who attended my session can download my slides here. And you can listen to the post-conference podcast with me and Craig Barton here.

Did you see my recent blog post? I wrote about the The Power of Modelling and Exemplars.

If you enjoy my blog posts then you can subscribe here. You will only be emailed when I publish a new post, which is normally once every three or four weeks.

I'm very glad to be on my Easter break after a crazy Spring term. As well as attending the three-day MA Conference, my holidays will mainly consist of hanging out with my lovely daughters, and completing endless Only Connect style puzzle grids from the website puzzgrid.com (which I am a bit addicted to). I'm trying to keep work to a minimum this Easter because I desperately need a rest, but I do have a few things coming up over the next two weeks:

  • I'll be reading Michael Pershan's book 'Teaching Maths with Examples' which looks excellent.
  • I'll be recording a podcast with Ben Orlin, chatting about bygone maths symbols
  • I'll be attending #GLTBookClub on 13th April. We'll be talking about Chapter 18 (angles in polygons) from my book A Compendium of Mathematical Methods.

I'll leave you with the news that Tarquin are now taking orders for empty protractors. I spoke about this idea in my Angles in Depth CPD. A lot of the mistakes made in measuring angles come from students relying on reading scales on protractors (which they often misread) rather than using reasoning. Protractors without numbers help students think logically about the measure of turn. 


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