25 November 2023

5 Maths Gems #176

Welcome to my 176th gems post. This is where I share some of the latest news, ideas and resources for maths teachers.

1. 1st Class Maths
1stclassmaths.com has always been full of incredibly high quality resources, and the recent additions are no exception. The GCSE revision resources (designed for both Edexcel and AQA) contain original GCSE-style questions which are very well written.

I also love the question frequency data on the Topic Appearance page. There's so much interesting analysis here!

2. MathsBot Games
I'm enjoying @StudyMaths' revival of old Flash Maths games. For example Find the Primes is really fun and easy to use. I enjoy playing this with my Year 7 daughter! It's a bit more accessible for her age than IsThisPrime? which is also awesome. 

Also check out Beat the Clock for times tables fun.

I was always a big fan of Flash Maths back in the day. My favourites were Shape Shoot and Memory Maths, which visitors used to play on Open Evenings at my last school. 

3. Tasks
Here are some great tasks I've seen on Twitter over the last few weeks:

An angle chase with bearings from @mrwatkinsmaths:

Scaffolded resources on loci and constructions from @draustinmaths:

I really recommend this excellent blog post about task design: 'Task Writing – Unintended Consequences' from Dan Draper.

4. Dr Frost
It's great to see lots of newly improved resources being published by Dr Frost's team. For example @nathanday314 has created excellent slides and exercises for angles in parallel lines

Follow @DrFrostResource for updates on all the new resources being released. 

5. Function Machines
PolyPad from @mathigon has a brilliant new function machine tool. It's very easy to use and a fantastic way to illustrate composite and inverse functions. Have a play with it. For me it's perfectly timed as I'll be teaching this topic to Year 11 next week.

Maths Week
We ran a Maths Week at my school last week (not in the same week as Maths Week England, because that clashes with Anti-Bullying Week). It was a very successful event with loads of engagement from students across all year groups. We designed it to be high impact without an excessive workload, with lots of opportunities for all students to earn House Points (not just the best mathematicians).

  • We ran a Teacher Treasure Hunt using the fantastic resources created by @missradders. We had over 170 entries and it was wonderful to see the level of enthusiasm amongst students. They loved it! We will definitely make this an annual event.
  • We ran a daily puzzle, which we displayed around school and in tutor time notices. We were delighted by the level of engagement. It was such a joy to see students crowded around puzzles in corridors discussing their ideas and solutions. There's an example below (many students and teachers struggled with the third sequence, though it's wonderfully simple when you spot it - I got it from a Complete Maths conference!).
  • We had a Sparx XP competition and we were shocked by how much Sparx usage increased as a result!
  • Our wonderful librarian set up a special display of maths books in the library and promoted them throughout the week.
  • I delivered an assembly to each year group on 'How I Fell in Love With Maths', the idea being that one day they'll find something that they are so passionate about that they want to talk about it all the time. My assembly centred around Fermat's Last Theorem, which I think is a story everyone should be told. I also wore a different maths dress for each assembly!

  • If you didn't see the news about this - GCSE teachers should be aware that Year 11 might get the formula sheet in their exams this summer. This comes as a surprise, but a good one - even though I think the design of the formula sheet is poor, I'm in favour of formulae being provided with exams (every year, not just in 'covid years'). The consultation closes on 30th November.
  • Sunday 26th November is your last chance to submit a proposal to speak at the Joint Conference of Mathematical Subject Associations 2024 which takes place in the Easter holidays. 

Finally, as Christmas is coming I thought it might be a good time to mention that my book A Compendium of Mathematical Methods makes an excellent present for a maths teacher. 

Have a great week everyone!

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