10 September 2023

5 Maths Gems #174

Welcome to my 174th gems post. This is where I share some of the latest news, ideas and resources for maths teachers.

1. Menu Maths
I saw a tweet about #menumath last week. These lovely tasks have been around for years but I realised that I've never featured them in a gems post.

This idea from @NatBanting is designed to generate 'low floor, high ceiling' challenges. Visit natbanting.com/menu-math to see the collection of tasks from various authors. In these tasks, students are given a 'menu' (a collection of constraints) and they have to create an object (e.g. an equation, a number or a shape) that satisfies these constraints. 

Teachers can make this task accessible by asking students to design objects that satisfy only one or two constraints, but can easily add challenge by asking students to satisfy more constraints. Students can also be asked to analyse which constraints pair well together and which cannot pair together.

Here are a couple of examples:

2. Rehearsal Strips
Thanks to @mrmorleymaths for sharing a new collection of tasks inspired by Dr Austin's practice strips. These Rehearsal Strips are designed to encourage rehearsal of taught content, but also allow students the opportunity to reason and explain, and test their understanding of the topic by applying it to another area of maths.

3. Eedi
@mrbartonmaths has launched a brand new collection of resources for every topic in maths. This free collection includes diagnostic questions, videos, fluency practice, intelligent practice and problem-solving questions. To access these materials, login at eedi.com (DQ logins will work here) and visit the Curriculum Mapping page.  Click 'View the collection', find a topic you are teaching soon and click on the Eedi link. 

Diagnostic Questions have always been brilliant for identifying and understanding misconceptions, so it's fantastic to see them supplemented with all these extra teaching resources.

4. A Level Knowledge Organisers
Thanks to @mrsd_maths for sharing an excellent collection of A level knowledge organisers. They can be downloaded from TES. I think these will be really helpful for revision. 

5. Fraction Bar
MathsPad has shared a free Interactive Fraction Bar Tool for finding fractions of an amount. The tool enables you to switch fraction families with the same amount, so for example, if you have already found a third of the amount, you can demonstrate how to use this to find a sixth. You can also start with different fractions, use different units (money and metric units) and extend the bar to show fractions greater than one whole.

Marvellous Maths 3
Tickets are selling fast for Marvellous Maths 3 - a full day of top quality maths CPD, presented by Craig Barton and myself. We are going on tour with this course: on 18th October we'll be at my lovely school in Sutton, South London. Then on 19th October we'll be at Worcester Racecourse, and on 20th October we'll be in Craig's hometown of Bolton at the Science and Technology Centre. It will be wonderful to be in a room full of maths teachers three days in a row! Book now at mathscpd.weebly.com.

AQA Webinar
I'm looking forward to taking part in AQA's free webinar at 4pm on 21st September. I'll be speaking about Level 2 Further Maths and Andrew Taylor will be speaking about the Summer '23 exam series.  There will be a live Q&A. You can sign up here

Speaking of Further Maths, @westiesworkshop has gone through the whole of AQA's L2 Further Maths course and grouped questions by topic. The whole PowerPoint is available on TES and it's also broken down a bit more on his website.

There's a lot of negativity about Casio's new calculator model, but we do need to learn how to use it now that the old model has been discontinued. Thank you to my colleague Morgan for providing me with an excellent poster for my classroom wall.

Check out Casio's upcoming calculator webinars, and recent blog posts on calculators from @cclay8.

Here are some things you might have missed:
  • @MissNorledge has created a searchable database of all Edexcel GCSE maths past paper questions (June 2017+). It's very quick and easy access to GCSE questions by topic, including mark schemes. Just type in a topic name and it takes you straight to the relevant page!
  • Festival of the Spoken Nerd are performing An Evening of Unnecessary Detail in London in October and November, with the events being live streamed for those unable to attend in person. I've seen a couple of Festival of the Spoken Nerd performances in the past and hugely recommend them to maths teachers! 
  • Chris Smith's excellent weekly maths newsletter is back - if you want to subscribe, email Chris at aap03102@gmail.com.
  • In time for the new school year, the creators of my favourite game Nerdle (which I have played for 545 days in a row!) have launched 'Super Nerdle'. This allows teachers to customise Nerdle games for their students.
  • The annual Big MathsJam takes place on 11 - 12 November. It’s a weekend of recreational mathematics, with cool people and interesting maths! 
  • I thought some teachers might like to see my updated posters which I made on Canva. I blogged about these initiatives last year. The main difference this year is that we've changed the name 'Maths Clinic' to 'Maths Extra' in response to an idea from a local Head of Maths who suggested that students might not respond well to the term clinic. 

Finally, thank you to James Greenland for sending me a lovely book of Additional Mathematics O Level Papers from 1968 - 1971. I've shared an example below. I like it that students had some choice over which questions they answered. Here I've just shared the pure sections: there were mechanics and statistics sections in the exam too.

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