Tag Archives: maths teaching

## 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)

In 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.

## Mathematical Whodunit?

30 Sep

Halloween is such a fun time of year and it’s great to try and bring some of that excitement into your classroom, I’ve never found a really good Halloween themed resource so at Number-Loving we set about trying to make some!

To kick things off we have a Mathematical Whodunit, this is born out of my love (and unbeaten record) of the board game Cluedo (To download go to numberloving.co.uk and click on ‘featured resources’).

The setting is the hotel ‘Spooksville’, the victim is the elusive ‘Mr Black’ and there are six suspects.

The idea is that students work in groups of 5-7, each assuming the identity of one of the characters. They each get a character card which gives them answers to three questions. On their turn they can ask a fellow player one of these question. There’s also a pool of general evidence for students to look at to help them in determining who the murderer is.

The task is quite complex so depending on the class you may need to structure it for them – e.g. tell them for the first 10 minutes they have to find out about the crime itself, then for the next ten they have to find out who had a motive, then who had the means and finally who had opportunity. But if your class are quite used to mysteries and open tasks then you can probably just leave them to it! The Maths is mostly functional and includes:

• Interpreting time in 12 hour and 24 hour
• Maps and scales
• Speed, distance and time
• Reading timetables and mileage charts
• Applying logic and working methodically

In the resource I have summarised a few alternative ways to play – one idea being to get members of the department dressed up as the characters and play the game at an open evening or collapsed timetable day.

I haven’t used this with a class yet – I’m going to save it for my last lesson before Halloween, if anyone does use it I’d love to hear how it goes. You can tweet us @laurareeshughes and @numberloving. We will be adding more Halloween themed resources to our ‘featured resources’ on numberloving.co.uk so keep checking back if you like it!

## Mathematical Taboo!

17 Sep

We have been a bit quiet on the blog since the Summer but we’re now back with lots in store for the new academic year!

To kick things off how about a game of taboo? Taboo is a really simple, fun and occasionally frustrating game where you have to describe a word to your partner without using the three ‘taboo’ words. These are an amazing way of consolidating key words and concepts as well as promoting communication and team work!

Instructions

This works well if students work in fours and  split into two teams of two. Team one have say, two minutes to get through as many words as they can with one member describing and one person guessing. Whilst this is happening team two are timing them and keeping a close eye on the ‘taboo’ words to make sure they are not used. Once the time is up the teams swap over.

In the style of many of our resources these cards are differentiated. Each set comes with 8 green and 8 red cards. The words are taken from the key vocabulary in the national strategy, the red cards are words from year 7 and 8, the green cards are words from year 9. Students could split the cards into two piles and pick which one to play with or you could direct them, I often suggest they get 2 points for a green word and 1 point for a red word. So far we have 6 sets on Number Loving covering key topics.

Variations on the game

Once a word has been guessed additional points can be gained by guessing what the ‘taboo’ words are on the card

Students get blank versions and make their own with the key words from a specific topic or unit

We have just introduced a ‘featured resource’ section to the Number Loving resource site. Using this we will highlight our new or favourite resources. These taboo cards are currently downloadable from this part of our website – just click on the graphic. Next month we will be featuring all our Halloween resources – some old and some new so keep an eye out!

## Summer Projects

29 Jul

Summer is here and now we can get stuck into those projects requiring a little more time. Here we have listed a wide range of projects that will keep you busy over the summer holidays.

Get Making

Maths Dance Mats

Make a class set for use on any topic with numerical answers. Check out our post “Dance Maths” for details on making the mats and resources to use with the mats are also available.

Instant Pie Charts

These have so many uses from the teaching of pie charts itself to its use in group tasks to rate participation rates of individuals, to measuring a pupils understanding. Easily made using four different colours of paper, and slotted together. Check out our post “Instant Graphs” for further details on making and using the pie chart wheels, as well as free resources to make and use with the wheels.

How do you Measure Up? Display

Make or update your height measuring display in your classroom, and why not post around the school in communal areas and even the staff room. Update with winners from the Olympics, or today’s favourite celebrities.

Check out our post “Pimp your classroom” for our free tape measure and other ideas to jazz up your classroom for September.

Top Trumps

Print and laminate a few sets of top trumps, a wide range is available on our resource site http://www.numberloving.co.uk. Each set is differentiated red (easy), amber and green. We have found they last longer if cut out and then laminated. Well worth it!

Check out our post “Maths Top Trumps & Other Games”, with details of how pupils can play the game and links to all top trump resources.

Tarsia Software

Tarsia jigsaw and dominoes software is great and as many colleagues have shared their jigsaws on the TES resource site or here on Mr Barton’s site, if you haven’t yet made use of it now is the time!

Check out our post “Tarsia puzzles- things you didn’t know” for more ideas on how to use the software to its full potential.

Geogebra

Free webbased graphing software and much much more. Download to your desktop now here, offline installation also available.

Prezi Desktop

The zooming presentation software. Check out our post “Get onto Prezi.com. Present & Collaborate”, with links to some of our own presentations. Ideal software for wowing everyone at the September inset day!

Wallwisher

Wallwisher can be used as your very own internet based notice board, use effectively with class investigations. As pupils complete investigations they post their findings onto the wall. Sign up for this free posting wall here. Check out our post “Computer room lessons sorted- no mymaths required” for more online tools we recommend.

NRich Postcards

Nrich offer a service to provide postcards for free, each postcard includes a puzzle to solve, just sign up here stating how many of each you would like to receive. These are great for leaving in communal areas around the school, or use as praise postcards home.

Access and download the free BP educational resource, game is available at two levels of difficulty. Pupils trade in oil, making decisions based on news updates. Check out our post “BP Trading Game- Enterprise/STEM/Maths”, here you will find our adapted resources to use with the game.

These can be bought from most toy stores, we found Ikea’s to be a bargain at £5 see here. Check out our post “Hammer Beads & Symmetry”, where we use these beads to create symmetrical patterns. Use as an end of topic activity or great for open evenings.

Finger Puppets

Another investment from Ikea, a pack of 10 for £4, check out here. Check out our post “Puppets go the distance with speed & time” , here we describe using the puppets to create stories to match a given distance/time graph.

Rulers (& pencils)

Whilst at Ikea take advantage of their free rulers and grab yourself a set. Check out our post “Teaching Loci”, here we describe guiding pupils under given rules of loci and a paper ruler to create locus of points.

Window crayons

We  love using our windows for displays, puzzles, assessment for learning and found window crayons to be the best tools for the job. Check out our post “Who wants clean windows” for further details, get creative!

Rewards

Avoid sweet treats and instead reward pupils with mathematical based puzzle such as these Rubik cube key rings. Check out our post “On our best Behaviour” for other ideas for rewards.

Geek glasses

Essential for when you promote pupils to be experts, either they finish and become markers  or are already designated as examiners with a given mark scheme (or self created markscheme). I use cinema 3D glasses with the lenses popped out, also great for control pupil movement in class when running  a treasure hunt with a lively group. Pupils can only be out of their seat if they have the glasses on, limiting movement as each group only have one pair of glasses.

Clock for classroom

Every classroom needs one, a mathematical clock like this equation clock. There are also a number of variations available. Check out our post “Equation clocks and more”.

Post It Notes

Well worth the investment, reasonably priced from most stationary stores. Check out our post “Post-it Addict” jam packed of different uses for post-it notes in lessons!

For more ideas check out our posts on Outdoor Learning and see if these fit into your department calendar.
Have a great summer!

## Number loving out and about

21 Jul

Thanks to @steelemaths @ThisisLiamM, @InteractMaths, @jonsmcest and @jlc1602 for kindly sharing some pictures of their students using our ideas and resources. Number Loving out and about…

Balloon modelling with fractions from our maths party blog

Cocktails using ratio and proportion from our crazy cocktails blog

Jubilee themed mysteries from our jubilee blog

Home-made dance mats from our dance maths blog

Calculator racing from @numberloving on twitter

A brilliant mystery inspired by our post Mystery and Mathematics

Thank you to everyone who’s tried our ideas, if you have any pictures we would love to see them, tweet us @laurareeshughes and @numberloving. Keep posted as we’ll shortly be blogging about some projects to keep you busy this summer!

## End of term resources

3 Jul

The summer holidays are almost upon us so here are some of our top resources and activities to see you through until the end of term. Have a great summer holiday from Number Loving!

Olympic themed resources

If you are after an Olympic themed lesson then try out our Olympic top trumps (download here) and Olympic mysteries (download here). With four mysteries to pick from and the solutions included there should be something for most abilities.

Also Kentishman has shared a wide variety of good quality Olympic themed starters which are well worth a look.

Other bits and bobs

Craig Barton has put together a collection of the top ten end of term resources available on the TES (try saying that quickly!) have a look here for some great ideas.

One of the best end of term games I have come across is Paul Collins’ Pirate game which is available on the TES here. Basically students place money and other symbols in a 7×7 grid, as you call out the grid references they get whatever they had placed in that square. With symbols such as the ‘steal’ which allows them to steal another persons money and the skull and crossbones which lets them wipe out a whole rows scores this is a very lively game which the students will love. I plan on putting a bit more Maths in (for example a ‘squared’ square which lets them square their total).

I discovered these blank Facebook profiles on the TES a while ago and was thinking of a way to use them. I plan on giving students a famous Mathematician and getting them to research this person in order to fill in their Facebook profile. Printed A3 and laminated they should make for an interesting display. I adapted the one off the TES slightly you can download it here.

This week I am doing a ‘sign post project’ with my Year 7′s to consolidate the work we did on measures and conversions. I wanted to put some sign posts up around the school with the distances to different places on, e.g. Science block 30m, Manchester  150 miles. So I decided to get the students to make them. I have split the class into groups and have given each group a different location within the school where their sign post will go. They’ve had to work out the distance from this place to other locations within the school and further afield, then convert their measures so they were all in m, km and miles. They’ve used trundle wheels and tape measures in the school and Google earth for the others. Here’s the PowerPoint I used with a bit more info on.

I often use my CSI mysteries towards the end of term for a fun lesson which still involves a lot of maths. See the collection on the TES here.

I’ll also be using Hama beads and this Cocktails project which I have blogged about previously. If we get any nice weather the cocktails go down really well!

If you use any of the ideas we would love to hear about it, tweet us @laurareeshughes and @numberloving.

## Jubilee? We’ve got it covered.

24 May

Next weekend marks the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and gives us an opportunity in class for some royal fun (!) I will be using these top trumps cards as a starter which feature familiar faces from the royal family and sums relating to the number 60.

I will then be getting my class to try a mystery. I have made three to pick from (see resource on the TES here) across a range of Mathematical topics and each relating to one of the events taking place during the celebration.

As a plenary I’ll be posing the question ‘how many ways can we make 60′ and students will share their examples on the window (see below). They will have to use the numbers between 1 and 10 and any operations they can think of, the most imaginative solution will win a suitably British prize! If you use any of these resources why not let us know how it goes @laurareeshughes and @numberloving. For some other great jubilee themed resources check out this collection on the TES…

## Take a bet…

10 May

Clearly gambling is not something which we should be promoting in Maths, but allowing students the opportunity to gamble opens up the chance to discuss the moral, social and financial implications in a real way. When teaching probability as an end of unit project (in pairs) I ask students to create a game, this is an idea which I adapted from this resource on the TES.  I usually start the lesson by giving an example of a game for them to think about – powerpoint here. Then they have to design their own and make sure the odds are in their favour, they have to work out the probability of winning and losing, think about pricing and prizes and from this work out their expected profit if 10 or 100 people play. This can be easily differentiated through outcome and I have done it with low ability year 7 up to top set year 9 by just adapting the success criteria.

Once they have had a lesson to design their game, make any resources and do all the maths you need to get your hands on some plastic money. Each team gets £10 (their games should cost between 0-£2 to play) and the students set up their games like a fair, they have the opportunity to go around playing one another’s games. Once ten people have played their game they should ‘shut down’ their stall. After this, get students to count their money and see whether they made the expected profit they calculated the previous lesson. You can then have a great discussion about why they didn’t make their expected profit (experiments differ from theory) and whether they still have their original £10 and how this relates to gambling in real life – e.g. the house always wins!

This is a fun project but also a great opportunity to assess and explore lots of elements of probability. If you like this idea you may also like this resource on the TES which is brilliant and includes several games for students to investigate before making their own.

## Dance Maths

22 Apr

Dancing and Maths may not seem like an obvious combination, perhaps because dancing is generally considered to be good fun. This idea came about as part of an open evening which was Disco themed but it has now become a regular activity in my lessons.

The idea centres around the fact that lots of maths questions have an answer between 1 and 99. To start you will need a class set of ‘dance mats’, I made mine using some non-slip fabric meant for swimming baths and some spray paint, alternatively you could use sugar paper and sticky-back plastic.

Each student is given a mat, you then flash questions up on the IWB, students left leg represents the tens and their right leg the units. They have to move so that their feet match the answer to the question e.g. if the answer were 52 they would have their left leg on ’5′ and their right leg on ’2′. The next question then appears and they jump to the next answer. Along with some music and a bit of momentum you get students dancing along to BIDMAS, volume, solving equations or any topic you can think of! See our resource site for some ready made powerpoints.

My students really enjoy this (particularly low ability on a Friday afternoon) and it really helps to engage the kinaesthetic learners, you may have a few students who initially don’t want to join in (until they see how much fun it is!) in which case I let them answer on mini-whiteboards instead.

If you try this out we would love to hear from you, tweet us @laurareeshughes or @numberloving

## Maths Party!

15 Apr

Maths and party are not two words you often hear in the same sentence but party games provide us with some great ways to engage students in the classroom. Here are a few of my favourite ideas:

Pass the parcel:

A simple idea which is great for a starter. this works very much as the party game but each layer has a question selotaped to it, before students can unwrap their layer they have to answer the question! In the past I have asked each student to write a question on a slip of paper as a plenary, then I use these questions in the pass the parcel the following lesson. I have done this with GCSE groups too and used exam questions cut up from a past paper. Students to the left and right can peer mark the answer to check it is correct! I have my classroom organised into five tables so I make five ‘parcels’ so each table has one to pass around, but you could adapt this depending on how your room is set up. All you need is some music and a prize for the middle and away you go!

Musical Statues:

This requires the use of this powerpoint from our resource site www.numberloving.co.uk. You play the powerpoint and students have to make the angle with their arms when the music stops. Great starter or plenary for consolidating estimation of angles! You can easily change the music, currently you will be listening to some choice songs from my Year 8 class.

Balloon modelling:

Balloon modelling is an exciting venture for anyone, old or young, this powerpoint again from our resource site takes you through the steps needed to make a balloon dog. Students have to measure their balloon (bought cheaply from homebargains, be sure to leave a 10cm section at the end which is un-inflated) then work out and mark the fractions on (starting from the end which is tied), then they fold and twist. It really is simple and makes a great fun lesson when studying fractions of amounts, it could be adapted to work for percentages or ratio. You could also extend the idea and get students to investigate making some of their own models! The video below shows how to make the twists, if you have younger students you may want to do this for them:

Four corners

This is great for types of shapes or number types. In each corner of the room you have a picture of a shape or a number hung up. You call out a property such as ‘four vertices’ or ‘square number’ and students must go to the corner which fits that property. If students go to the wrong one they are ‘out’ and should sit down, you can make it progressively more challenging by having several conditions they have to meet.

Simon says

This is a classic which can be adapted for practising drawing shapes, you give an instruction – for example ‘simon says draw a horizontal line 4cm in length’ and students have to do it, you continue on in this way until they have constructed a shape, the catch is sometimes you give an instruction which does not start with ‘simon says’ in this case they should not follow it. Get ready for chaos!

Keep tuned as this week I will also be blogging about dance maths…