Bells for BIDMAS and More

16 Nov

Hi there! We haven’t blogged in a while as we are busy behind the scenes bringing you some changes to the website and a lot of great new resources, please watch this space!

UntitledBIDMAS Bells

The class is split into eight groups and each group is given a bell. Each bell is numbered, if the answer to the question is the same as their group’s bell they should ring the bell. At first the pupils are likely to be too slow to recognise the tune and therefore you may need to go back the beginning and repeat to here the tune. It is an ideal activity for a short plenary.

In this version of the game the order of the questions is important and should follow the same numbers as the tunes provided on the tun sheet. You set some of the pupils a challenge to come up with questions relevant to the topic studying which give the answers to follow one of the tunes provided with the bells.

This BIDMAS bells PowerPoint contains questions which if played in the correct order will play the tune “twinkle twinkle little star”.

Other Ideas

Another adaption would be to group pupils and give each group a bell. All pupils will be given an answer card, and for each answer card there is a question. The order of the questions is again important. Use the interactive display board to pose a question to the class, if pupils have the answer to the question the ring the bell. The trick here is to first make the questions and answers, one for each note of the tune. Then assign each question card to the corresponding bell by numbering the question card. Then group all the cards for each bell, mixing them up so the order isn’t clear.For example if the tune was 1, 2, 2 (the numbers on the bell) a pupil from the group with bell one would need the answer to question 1 and pupils from the group with bell 2 would need the answers to question 2 and 3! This is slightly more complicated to prepare but worth it. My top tip is to label the back of the answer cards with which bell number it belongs to!

They can also add fun to quizzes or team games, not as tuneful but great fun!

About the Bells

The bells are called handbells and are sold in sets.You can buy them from here and many other places, always check that they come with a handy tune sheet.

We hope you find the ideas useful and we would love to hear your feedback on how the ideas work for you. You should also check out our resource site


Thanks for reading!


Body Surface Area and other fun tasks!

24 Mar


One of my absolute favourite websites for practical lesson ideas is teach maths. It is full of free lesson plans across the whole curriculum, more importantly all of the lessons are hands on and practical. So far I have tried two lessons from this site, both of which have been brilliant!

The first of these is on body-surface area, the plan is available here. Basically students have to calculate the surface area of their body. In order to do this they have to split their body into different shapes (I show them the slide above for inspiration) then they take the necessary measurements to calculate the surface area of each shape. This has a lot of real-life applications, the most interesting being calculating doses for things like chemotherapy. Once they have an answer there is a formula which the medical profession use, they can apply this formula to see how close their estimates are. The flipchart which I use for this lesson is here, it includes some activote questions for students to practice as a starter.

The second lesson is on discovering the formulae for the volume of a pyramid, the lesson plan is available here. In this lesson students construct six pyramids which they fit together to make a cube. They can then see that the volume of one pyramid is one sixth of the volume of the cube, a bit of algebra later and hey presto the formula for the volume of a pyramid is discovered!



Both of these lessons have worked really well for me, students have been really engaged and more importantly have been forced to think for themselves. Along with these lessons are many other brilliant ideas which I can’t rate highly enough, well worth a look.

Four Pictures One Maths Word

17 Mar

Inspired by Reflective Maths blog here and Mr Collins post here I got my thinking cap on and came up with the following maths versions of the latest craze!


All of these can be downloaded in one Power Point file from our free resource site here.

It would be great to hear your thoughts or suggestions on improving the four pictures and/or sharing your ideas!

Exam Warm Up Revision Resources

17 Mar


Only a matter of time till the next exam series and I decided to build in mini-revision to each lesson between now and then. Hence the birth of Number Loving’s differentiated exam warm up resources for both Higher and Foundation students.

Set 1 of the higher exam warm up exercises can be downloaded from here and set 1 of the foundation exam warm up exercises can be downloaded from here. The rest can be found under the bits and bobs filter of the numberloving resource site here.

Each set has five warm ups designed to be used in each lesson for that week. As always these are differentiated by colour indicated by the post-it notes; red (easiest), amber (medium), and green (more difficult). The topics remain the same, for example on the foundation set 1, day 1 shown above you will see the green question about missing angles in isosceles triangles. This bottom left hand question is always about isosceles triangles in set 1.

Display one on the board at the beginning of each lesson, giving pupils a small copy to complete as soon as they arrive to class.

I hope you find these resources useful in the lead up to exams!

Easter Mathematical Mysteries

16 Mar

Last year we blogged about some of our favourite resources to use at Easter time (read the blog post here) a lot of these resources, and others on the web, are aimed at KS2 or lower ability KS3 students. So this time round I have designed a couple of mysteries aimed specifically at secondary students (download the mysteries here)

mya3In the first mystery students have to use the 12 clues to determine which chocolatier the Easter bunny should buy his Easter eggs from. They have to work systematically to find all the possible combinations of eggs, then calculate the price of each option.

In the second mystery students have to use coordinates, straight line graphs and number types to find the six eggs which have been hidden in the coordinate grid.

Solutions are given at the end for each mystery. These could be used with KS3 and KS4 students and could each span a whole lesson depending on how you get students to approach them. I will get students to work in threes, each student will get four of the clues which they can not show their team mates, this way they have to communicate with one another in order to solve the problem. You could get them to present their work as a poster to give you some nice display work. Extensions are suggested within the resource.

For more resources like this visit our resource site

Creating a Multi Surface Learning Environment

4 Jan

Tables On a budget

Create a multi-surface learning environment on a budget is simple using paper tablecloths. Table Paper can be bought from most large supermarkets. Asda sell a pack of four for p and currently have this brightly coloured ones on offer for 50p. Alternatively banquet rolls are very handy, like this one available from Amazon.

Magic White Board

Gridded White Magic Whiteboard - 25 sheet roll Magic whiteboard is an absolute classroom essential with a multitude of uses, check out this magic whiteboard now with a grid. This can be used again for group work in the same way as the table cloth, place one sheet in the middle of each group table, with pens and wipers.

I used the white board in this way whilst doing some Christmas relay races; check out our post Anything but More Past Papers for details of  how to run a relay race. Also check out these relay race resources by Chris Smith, as well as the weighted relay race here all kindly uploaded to the TES.

The advantage of using the whiteboard is that they can be wiped clean and used again. Check out Mr Collins post describing how he uses the magic whiteboard sticky notes instead of tracing paper here.

The Complete Multi Surface Learning Environment

Make the glass, the walls, floors and even the tables as learning surfaces!


Using window crayons you can change windows/glass into a learning surface, check out our blog Who wants Clean Windows anyway for more details.


These can become learning surfaces using the magic whiteboard described above.


Using chalk why not try some life size constructions or loci. Use the old store cupboard equipment to construct angle bisectors, check out our post Carpet Constructions


My blue sky thinking and dream would be a department full of these write on and wipe off tables!

GALANT Desk IKEA 10 year guarantee. Read about the terms in the guarantee brochure.

Ikea sell this Gallant desk to the left which also wipes clean. Top tip from Professor Heppell and his post here is to give tables a good clean with polish, but as always test first.

Good excuse for another trip to Ikea to stock up on Ikea rulers. Check out our post Teaching Loci of how to use the Ikea rulers.

Write-on/Wipe-off Dry-Erase 48" x 72" Kidney-Shaped Table

This kidney shape table is available from Flaghouse but be prepared for shipping, link here.

I have found a picture of what I want, this flip write on wipe off table which flips into a display or presentation board.  I think these from Merseyside Paper suppliers (page 10-11) are a possibility just need to check that the surface is dry wipe! If anyone has these type of flip dry-wipe table let me know as it would be great to get some!

If I cant any or funding my alternative budget whiteboard tables will have to be created using a product like this dry erase paint and check out a school who have created white board surfaces using the paint here.

Check out this post by Mr Adamson on his Living by Numbers Blog on how he uses his whole classroom.

Mathematical Shapes Calendar, Origami

3 Jan

2013New Year, New calendar

Inspired by David Mitchell’s Mathematical Origami book , I started to think what about using an origami dodecahedron as a calendar! A quick search revealed it had been done!

Todd’s place will produce rhombic calendars in different languages, with or without guidelines, you can also change the font and colours too. However you will need to save as a PS file and then use the online converter detailed on the site.


Another great website with a wide variety of 3D shape Origami calendars are available from this website CDO. The site is in Italian but also has printable in English and other languages. I found the guidelines on the printouts very useful.

This video below shows how to make one of my favourites and not just because it looks great but I also think it would be interesting to ask pupils work out the surface area of the completed shape.

To increase the difficulty pupils could use pencil and compass techniques to construct each of the faces and then construct! Great for extra curricular maths club!

Inspired by my colleague Sister Mary-Anne I have been thinking how else to use flexagons, and have found these on the Origami Resource Centre with a calendar based on a pentahexaflexagon by Ralph Jones.

dodecaflexCheck out their website for templates like this (to the right ). Scroll down to Flexagon Calendars to download the 2013 printable worksheets to make your own and there are also links to video instructions.

Happy New Year to all Number Loving Readers from Sharon and Laura!


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