Resourceaholic: 5 Maths Gems #155

Cortez Deacetis

Welcome to my 155th gems post. This is where I share some of the latest news, ideas and resources for maths teachers. Loads of great stuff has been created lately and I haven’t been able to keep up with it, so today I’m bringing you a double feature – this post features ten gems instead of my usual five.

1. GCSE Resources

@gcse_math has shared an enormously helpful resource that must have taken a huge amount of time to pull together. He has collated all GCSE maths questions from June 2017 to November 2020 for Edexcel, AQA and OCR. These are organised by topic. This resource has already saved me a lot of time – it’s so useful having questions from three different boards in one place.

If your students are currently preparing for their GCSE and don’t yet know all their key facts and formulae, don’t forget that you can bulk buy my Knowledge Quiz books directly from John Catt at a discount. Students can use these to self-quiz either at home or in the classroom. They repeat the same quiz multiple times until they are consistently scoring 100% – this is a tried and tested technique to memorise facts. Having instant recall of facts and formulae then frees up students’ brains to focus on reasoning and problem solving.

2. Number Puzzles

I now do the daily Nerdle puzzle every morning without fail, so I’m pleased to see increasing opportunities to bring this much-loved puzzle format into the classroom.

Numble was made by Olivia Gibson, who is a Year 12 Further Maths and Computer Science student at Manchester High School for Girls. She is a big fan of Wordle and had the idea of creating a similar game that involved guessing a 3-digit multiple of three (a ‘Numble’). Olivia’s game was shared by her teacher @mathsDJ on Twitter where it was very well-received by maths teachers. It took Olivia two weeks to make Numble using JavaScript and in her own words ‘she had a lot of fun making it’. The aim is to try and guess as many ‘Numbles’ as possible to build up a streak. @mathsDJ‘s school held a Numble competition with their Year 7s and the best was 27 in a row! It’s a fantastic game for building understanding of divisibility rules, as well as logical problem solving. Well done Olivia!

Nerdle itself has now launched ‘pro Nerdle’ which is designed for schools in response to feedback from teachers. The game allows teachers to focus on a specific topic or skill, for example by removing multiplication or division or by adding additional symbols such as brackets and decimals. Another new Nerdle feature is the ‘Challenge Zone’ page, which provides a variety of pre-built pro challenges designed for learning or practice. Great stuff from Nerdle!

3. Mathematician Profile Cards
@Amplify has shared a lovely set of free mathematician profile cards. Each card highlights the life and
accomplishments of a mathematician. There’s also an activity: give each
student a card and have them read the profile.
When they’re done, students should find the two
individuals holding cards that match the clues on
the right-hand side of their own cards.

This would be a great activity for a maths enrichment club.

4. If I Could Tell You One Thing

The Mathematical Association has published a new book: If I Could Tell You One Thing, which is edited by @edsouthall. You can purchase a copy from the MA Shop at £14 for non-members or £9.80 for members. A free digital download is included. This book is packed full of great advice and pedagogical insights. I look forward to reading it over the Easter holidays. I hope people like my chapter, which is called ‘More depth, less speed’.

Teachers of GCSE Statistics will be pleased to see that @HelenScott88 shared a thread on Twitter which lists a number of resources for this course. This includes the helpful website statsacademy.co.uk.

The design of this task is based on a very similar task I made for angles in parallel lines, which I explained in my Angles in Parallel Lines in Depth CPD. The idea is to get students thinking about all the reasons they used to solve a Don Steward angle problem (quite often they only write down one angle fact, when they have actually used multiple facts). Also, they compare answers with others and realise that different approaches can be used. By ticking boxes instead of writing out reasons, they can get more practice done and focus on the maths instead of the writing.

@taylorda01 has launched a new website: Backward Faded Maths. You can read about it in this thread or watch Dave’s video for an explanation of what it’s all about. There are currently eighteen worksheets on the website, with more to be released. Here’s an example of a task for a contextual area of a semi-circle problem:

8. Pi Day Relay
Everyone loves Chris Smith’s (@aap03102) relays, so it’s great to see he has published a new one! This time the theme is Pi Day. Thank you Chris!

9. FDP Booklet
MathsPad subscribers will already be familiar with their growing collection of outstanding topic booklets. A recent addition is on fractions, decimals and percentages. @MathsPadNicola has tweeted a couple of examples of tasks from this booklet.

10. Tips for Teachers
Craig Barton (@mrbartonmaths) has launched a fantastic new website tipsforteachers.co.uk. Craig wants to build a free, extensive and diverse collection of ideas that teachers of any level of experience, teaching any subject, any age-group, and from any country might find useful and be able to apply to their own teaching.

This website features tips in both podcast and video form. So for example some teachers might listen to the tips on their way to work, and others might show the videos in a department meeting and follow up with a discussion.

This is a brand new website but already features lots of tips – from Craig, Adam Boxer and myself – and the collection will grow rapidly over the coming months.

Here’s an example of one of my tips:

Update

Thank you to everyone who attended #mathsted22. I held this event at my school and it was great that so many local maths teachers attended. Thank you to Steve Wren from Ofsted for travelling down from Yorkshire to speak at this event, and to AQA for the sponsorship which meant I could run it for free.

Since then I’ve been working on my keynote for the MA Conference, which is fast approaching. There are two online days plus one in-person day in Stratford-Upon-Avon. Tickets are available from £15.
I have news. I’ve been Assistant Principal at my school for three years and have now decided to do a bit of a career u-turn and take on the Head of Maths role there in September. I have so many ideas and I can’t wait to get started. I’m really lucky I’ll get to lead a fantastic team and focus on the thing I love most – maths! If you’re interested in my yo-yoing career path, which has had an unusual number of twists and turns over the last twenty years, I wrote about it here.
Finally, I’ll leave you with this lovely Pi Day idea from @mathequalslove. Instead of writing a Haiku which has the structure 5 – 7 – 5, why not challenge students to write a Pi-Ku?

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