One of my personal resolutions for the coming year is to carry on with my practice of using resources that students can then refer to or use at home if they wish. Mathematics notes and calculators are a good example of such resources.
To consider an example, early this term with the Further Mathematicians I will be studying matrices and I will let them know the sources of any resources I use in lessons. I use a blog to provide the details of my students’ homework so I can simply add the links to their homework page. Sometimes where there are several useful resources I think maybe of interest to a wider audience I also add a post to Mathematics for Students, see for example, Polar Coordinates. In fact I think I will do that more this year.
To return to matrices, some useful resources include the following:
On the AQA website the Teaching and learning resources page for A Level Further Maths includes three online textbooks under the Resources for students heading. For example if I want a worked example of finding the inverse of a 3×3 matrix then we can look at Chapter 5 of AQA’s Further Pure 4 text. This also has an exercise with the answers at the back if they want additional examples.
More sources of notes and examples include Chapter 9 on Matrices and Transformations from the CIMT Further Pure Mathematics A Level material, Just the Maths, the Math Centre and The HELM Project. If you have not come across the HELM Project before, the project was designed to support the mathematical education of engineering students and includes an extensive collection of notes which include clear worked examples. You can see on the list that a very small number of titles (that you are unlikely to want A Level) are ‘not ready yet’; for the sake of completeness I discovered the complete set hosted by the Open University. To access the Open University resources you will need to create an account (easy and free), this will also give you access to the numerous free online courses.
Obviously we need to keep an eye on the specification when looking at alternative sources of examples but surely that can only be a good thing, particularly for our students who will be off to university in the near future.
Matrices is an example of a topic where it can be very useful to check work with WolframAlpha; I have created a new slideshow of Matrix Examples to add to the WolframAlpha slideshow series so we can easily check any work.
The series is on Mathematics for Students also and a post including the matrices resources discussed here has been added also.