Resolutions for (Maths) Teachers

As the new Academic year approaches in the UK and has already begun elsewhere..
time to review and update ‘Resolutions for (Maths) Teachers’.

Resolutions for Maths Teachers PowerPoint file
or as a pdf Resolutions for Maths Teachers (hyperlinks work in the pdf and can be faster than PowerPoint).

Spaced Practice - Learning ScientistsMy emphasis is naturally on the students’ learning and you will see further emphasis on talking to the students about learning and study strategies; read The Learning Scientists blog for more information and downloadable materials on study strategies. Follow @AceThatTest on Twitter or on Facebook.

Also added to this edition a reminder that we of course need to help our students be great problem solvers. See also the Rich Tasks pages, one for age 11-16 and the other for age 16+. The 16+ page has been updated with considerably more detail. With the UK new A Level specifications having a greater emphasis on problem solving and more challenging questions, activities such as those here should be a natural part of our regular teaching.


Mathematical Miscellany #6

Another compilation this week, this time of updates to this and some companion blogs.


A consistently popular page on this site has been Rich Tasks – this has now been split into two separate pages, one for age 11-16 and the other for age 16+. The 16+ page has been updated with considerably more detail. With the UK new A Level specifications having a greater emphasis on problem solving and more challenging questions, activities such as those here should be a natural part of our regular teaching.

Do explore the brilliant Underground Mathematics site as well as Jonny Griffiths’ various sites. Further resources are provided in the presentation at the end of the page.

Carom MathsWith a new academic year approaching for UK students or just started for students elsewhere, I have updated Transition Time on Mathematics for Students. This is a collection of resources and activities aimed at students changing stages in their studies – perhaps starting more advanced studies at school or heading off to university.
The illustration here is from Jonny Griffiths’ Carom Maths, a collection of forty mathematics activities bridging the gap between A Level and University. Check the List of Activities, for Inequalities for example, illustrated here, choose Carom 1-2: Inequalities. This will lead you to a complete PowerPoint with information and questions on Inequalities.

J Hall Maths ToolsIn last week’s Mathematical Miscellany #5 I included Jonathan Hall’s site with its many excellent Tools for Maths Teachers. With some great starters and a bank of GCSE questions with solutions more detail has been added to this post on Mathematics – Starters and Plenaries. The Collections page on the same site has also been updated and checked. As the name implies these are sites with a fantastic supply of starters.

Mathematical Miscellany #5

Twitter can be useful for alerting one to resources / news, note the first two items.

Problem Solving – an open access (free) book which looks at research on Mathematical Problem Solving.
Problem Solving

Note this page for a large collection of free Mathematics books.

Tools for Maths Teachers J HallJonathan Hall has many excellent Tools for Maths Teachers. Here you will find various tools including Starters and also a bank of GCSE questions. Note that you can show solutions for the GCSE questions – there is a (tiny!) link at the bottom of the page for each question.
JHall site

The page on Apps has recently been updated, there are fuller descriptions of the various apps and note the addition of Summaze2 from MEI and Sigma. A wonderful example of a free app – Maths to make you think, visually attractive and no irritating adverts trying to make you buy the premium edition!

Sumaze Integral

In Mathematical Miscellany 4, I mentioned the excellent Linar Equations Calculator; for an excellent way to illustrate the balance method of solving linear equations, try this manipulative on Mathisfun, this is very simple to use and does not require the user to log in.
Mathisfun Algebra Balance

tickUK Results 2016 – a new page has been created which I will update as A Level & GCSE results / news comes in. As I do each year, I will provide links to the results statistics and grade boundaries for the various examination boards.

Note my Twitter Examinations list. Check this for announcements / news. (You do not have to be a Twitter subscriber to use the list.)

Whilst this is Mathematical Miscellany #5 I have been writing these compilation posts for quite some time. They were at one time ‘Thoughts this week…”. Previous posts are all filed under the category (note the Category menu on the right) Mathematical Miscellany.

Holiday Time

Looking back over some previous posts, I thought I would put the holiday themed posts together:

Maths in the moviesThis year’s holiday included a visit to the wonderful National Cinema Museum in Turin – see the Mathematics in the Movies post (now with added songs!)

Holidays includes some really interesting links on mathematical buildings, architecture inspired by Mathematics and suggested mathematical tours in London. And did you know you can use WolframAlpha to explore properties of buildings?

Holiday Pictures

cosh x Desmos image

Imaginary Exhibition


I do like to keep my eye open for mathematical pictures (Tetrahedral Numbers on Mathisfun), hence:

Neuwied Schloss cannons Photograph by David Young

Neuwied Schloss cannons. Photograph by David Young

Mathematics in the Movies


Photograph by David Young

At the wonderful National Cinema Museum, Turin – holiday time this week!

Thinking about Maths in the movies led me to this great collection of movie clips featuring Mathematics from Harvard University.

We must of course include Abbot & Costello showing that 7×13=28! includes a section on using movie clips in the mathematics classroom. The site suggests several possible movie clips to use and has accompanying worksheets. The Abbott & Costello clip mentioned above is included, the MathsBits worksheet is here.

Donald in MathMagic LandI loved Donald in Mathmagic Land as a child.

For a series of excellent articles see Plus Magazine’s Mathematics in Films.

For a very comprehensive database of mathematics mentioned anywhere is a movie try MMDB – The Mathematical Movie Database from Burkard Polster and Marty Ross.

From Numberphile, Math and Movies (Animation at Pixar) we learn how 3D aminated characters look so smooth.

More from Pixar, see Pixar: The math behind the movies, Tony DeRose on TEDEd; note that this link from TEDEd provides not just the movie but a complete lesson. (See also this article on Pixar’s research on The Verge.)

From SchoolTube, Math in the Movies

If all this inspires you to think about a job in digital animation – see Maths in motion on the excellent Maths Careers site.

I really like the song ‘Math is a wonderful thing’ from School of Rock.

Having got on to songs, here are a few favourites.

These have gone down well with students, particularly the Circle Song!

The Klein Four are a bit beyond school Mathematics, you may appreciate this if you are studying for a Mathematics degree!

Iterative Methods

Looking at the new content for UK GCSE Mathematics a completely new entry on the specification is “find approximate solutions to equations numerically using iteration”.

Teaching the new specification this year I needed to work on this and wrote this post;
GCSE New Content – Iterative Methods for Numerical Solution of Equations.

I see from my blog Statistics that this is a very popular post so have made it my first summer holiday job to update it.

Note the additional section on Further Resources / Questions (scroll down the post).
Eq solved by iterative method


Low Stakes Testing in the Mathematics Classroom

To download:
Low Stakes Testing in the Mathematics Classroom (PowerPoint File, takes a few moments to download)

Low Stakes Testing in the Mathematics Classroom (pdf)

Slides from the BERA Conference, Learning from the classroom – Practitioner research in mathematics education – July 2016

There are many hyperlinks provided in the presentation, for ease of access these are also provided below:

Further Reading

End of term…

Relay from Chris Smith

Relay from Chris Smith

The end of term approaches. I will certainly be using this great Summer Relay; students can have a more informal lesson but still do some useful maths! See Relays from Chris Smith. Note there is a complete set; I used his Valentine relay very successfully this year! Featured in Mathematical Miscellany#2.

For more end of term activities, see the End of Term Activities page under the I’m Looking for  … menu.

This holiday I’ll be doing my usual tidying up and also updating my Results apges with any UK Statistics.

BERABefore that I am very much looking forward to this Saturday’s BERA (@BERANews) Event, Learning from the classroom – Practitioner research in mathematics education where I will be speaking myself on the value of Lows Stakes Testing in the Mathematics Classroom and enjoying presentations from other speakers including the Keynote speaker, Dr Alison Clark-Wilson (@AliClarkWilson Institute of Education, University of London @IOE_London). The event has been convened by Dr Alf Coles (@AlfColes University of Bristol) and Dr d’Reen Struthers (Institute of Education, University of London).


The Standards Unit – Mathematics

This is an outstanding resource – many excellent activities here for the secondary classroom.

This page has a permanent home under Resources  and has been recently updated.
There are flipcharts available for each lesson and note the excellent Professional Development materials.

Start by reading Improving Learning in Mathematics – Malcolm SwanThe following links give you access to the resources, also some IWB resources.

Home pageThe resources are hosted by Nottingham University, including all the pdf files very clearly indexed. Note that this sites includes the complete set of resources including the software; (though some software is too old to work!) Note that Tom Button has rewritten the Traffic Simulations in GeoGebra for A5: Interpreting Distance-Time Graphs with a Computer. The Professional Development resources are excellent. Look at PD1 ‘Getting Started’ for example, note PD1.4 on page 9 – 8 Principles for Effective Teaching.


All materials – hosted by National STEM Centre. Including:
Mostly Algebra   Mostly Number  Mostly Statistics   Mostly Shape and Space   Mostly Calculus   Others   

…or Craig Braton has the pdf files on mrbartonmaths

IWB Materials This website has come about as a result of the NCETM research project: Enabling enhanced mathematics teaching with some interactive whiteboards (September 2006- September 2008) and is supported by the IWB research team at Keele University and s supported by the IWB research team at Keele University and the Spire Maths team.

PowerPoint Files

MMT has written a set of PowerPoint files for almost all of these excellent resources, he has made them – in his own words ‘classroom ready’. MMT has provided the resources in an editable format so that they can be tweaked to your own requirements. Thank you MMT! These files are available directly from Dropbox; note they are also hosted on Craig Barton’s site.

Standards Unit MMT Files

Standards Unit A1:Expressions – MMT PowerPoint

Stretch & Challenge – Mathematics

A really quick post this week, I see the Twitter #mathschat today is on Stretch & Challenge so I thought I would check some bookmarks I have saved; I will add some more references to this post in the next day or two and return to these later but in the meantime – some very useful links: