Translation Today!

24 Mar

move it move itA quick post about one of the four transformations- Translation!


Play Girls Aloud’s song “I can’t speak french” or “I like to move it” from Madagascar as pupils enter the classroom. Or turn it into a quick game of name the lesson topic instead of name that song.

Translation Mystery

Pupils use the clue cards to plot two shapes and translate them both twice, labeling each vertex and disciphering the code. This mystery consists of two different difficulty levels (easy and hard). The easy cue cards describes each translation using words and pupils can plot the shapes on a 1-1 coordinate grid. The hard version requires pupils understand translations given as vectors.  Download the resource for free; easy level here or more challenging here.

Tweet us @numberloving and @laurareeshughes, we’d like to hear how you hook your pupils in!

Easter Mathematical Treasure Trove

22 Mar

Another Easter resource we would like to share!

This collect a joke resource requires pupils to perform increasingly difficult addition and subtraction of fractions. Watch out for the red herrings! Download for free here!

A quick reminder of our other Easter resources;

Easter Maths Treasure Hunt

Whole school treasure hunt, use as a competition for this week leading up to Easter.

Easter Mathematical Mysteries

A collection of three Easter themed mysteries, all resources free to download via our resource site.

An Eggciting Eggstravanganza of Resources

From practising proportion with an Easter cake recipe to making origami rabbits, lots of ideas here to try.

A Lesson Off Never

In this blog we show you how to make pop shapes, use yellow card to make pop up chicks.

How did the resource work for you? Tweet us @numberloving and @laurareeshughes

Easter Maths Treasure Hunt

19 Mar

Since starting as HOD I’ve been trying to raise the profile of maths around the school. This year I’ve decided to set up an Easter themed treasure hunt. On Friday I ‘hid’ 12 questions around the school site which students have to hunt down and answer. many

I’ve stuck the questions on the inside of classroom windows so that they can’t be stolen by any over enthusiastic students! Students have been told to hand any answers in by Thursday so we can do a draw for a big Easter egg.


You can download the whole treasure hunt for free on It comes with a poster to advertise it and the answers. Instead of doing it as a whole-school hunt you could use the questions in a classroom or just around the maths department.

Tweet me @laurareeshughes if you use it – I’d love to hear from you!



New GCSE – what’s the problem?

12 Mar

The new GCSE is causing a lot of teachers I know some sleepless nights! The thing which worries me is not so much the new content but the style of the exam papers. The specimen and practice papers published so far are much less routine and less accessible than the current specification. Again, this isn’t really an issue in itself, it’s that we haven’t been given adequate time, information or resources to prepare ourselves and our students for this change.

The main challenge I’m facing with my students is developing their resilience as well as the tools in their problem solving arsenal. I’m a great believer in the simplest solution being the best one and so to tackle my concerns I’m simply trying to expose my pupils to as many different problems as frequently as possible.

Here are some of the things I’m using;

These short problems from nrich make great starters across ages and abilities. They can also be used by tutors during form time if you don’t already have a numeracy programme. There’s a good deal of variety in terms of style of problem and difficulty.

This free problem solving booklet from La Salle comes with teacher notes, I’m using problems from it as homework tasks for years 7 and 8 but it could easily be linked into your SOW for use in lessons.

The premium bundles from were developed specifically with the new GCSE in mind. I frequently use the always, sometimes, never resources and the mysteries, these are both great ways to develop resilience and independent thinking.

The always, sometimes, never resources provide students with 12 statements which they have to explore to decide whether they are always true, sometimes true or never true. They are designed to expose misconceptions which students have so these can be tackled head on. They also require pupils to explain their reasoning – something they will be required to do in the new GCSE. Have a closer look at this bundle here, there are 10 different resources and they all include instructions, solutions and ideas for support and extension.


The mysteries provide pupils with 12 clues which they have to analyse in order to solve the mystery! These are really popular with students and are very good way to develop resilience and different problem solving approaches (like drawing a diagram, making a table etc.). Lots of questions on the new GCSE provide pupils with a lot of information which they have to assimilate – very similar to the mystery tasks. Have a better look at the mysteries bundle here.


When students are working on problem solving tasks I have a rule that they can’t ask questions for 5 minutes (you can get some good timers here). I’ve found this really helps them to start thinking for themselves and exploring different options. I also have a list of strategies on the wall in my room which can sometimes help them get started (see below).

Problem solving strategies

  • Draw a diagram or picture
  • Make a model
  • Try to spot any patterns
  • Can you solve an easier problem (make the numbers easier)
  • Write what you know on the diagram
  • Can you form a right angled triangle
  • Try a number and see if it works (trial and improvement)
  • Make a list or a table
  • Don’t obsess over what you’ve been asked for, focus on what you know and what you can work out
  • Can you express anything using algebra
  • What topic is this assessing, think about what you know on this topic

Hopefully if I keep at it my students will become more confident and independent mathematicians with a good chance of succeeding at the new GCSE. I’d really like to hear other ideas and resources people are using, tweet me @laurareeshughes.

Pi Day Resources

9 Mar

It is nearly Pi Day, March 14th (3.14), so to celebrate try some of our resources from the seasonal Pi Day bundle. This bundle consists of three resources described below.


Pi Day Relay Race

pi relay raceA set of 16 relay race questions suitable for able KS4 pupils. The questions are progressively difficult, starting with the basics (see picture) to solving problems involving area, circumference or volume.

Print one set of questions for each group on different colours. Each group has a team captain, they retrieve the question from the front , taking it to the team to answer. Once they are confident they’ve got it correct they return it for marking. If correct they get 10 points and the next question. If they are wrong they can have a second attempt for 9 points.

Pi Day Collect a Joke

The pupils must calculate progressively difficult fractions of amounts (suitable for KS3 pupils), each answer gives a letter spelling out the punchline to the Pi Day joke. This resources includes ‘red herrings’ for quick self and teacher assessment. This resource is free to download as part of try before you buy!

Pi Day Mystery

Pupils are challenged to use the clues to plot all five circles and find the point of intersection. They will need to use and inverse the formulas for the area and circumference of a circle, as well as some Pythagoras’ Theorem.

Each resource includes instructions, ideas for support/extension and solutions.


Check out this blog “Plan a Pi Day Party” by Gary Hopkins for Educational world for more great ideas and resources to celebrate Pi Day.

Revision Calendar

6 Mar

With exams fast approaching we will be sharing a lot of revision resources over the coming weeks. Up first is a calendar I have made for my year 11 foundation group (download for free here). I’m planning on sending it home as a way of communicating key dates to parents. I’ve included a quick question each day which I hope parents will use to quiz the students on. I’ve made the questions fairly basic so they don’t overwhelm anyone but every little helps!


The resource is in PowerPoint so you can easily adapt it to the level of your own class or to include your own revision sessions, mock exams etc.

World Book Day – Maths Style

1 Mar

It’s world book day on Thursday but that doesn’t mean that English should have all the fun! Why not download our world book day maths problems to use in your lessons.


There are 6 problems which will be suitable for most ages and abilities. Here are a few ideas for how you might use them;

  • Pick out one to use as a starter
  • Get the students into teams and use the six problems in a relay race style activity. (pupils answer one question at a time, gaining points for each correct answer and only moving on to the next task once they have completed the one before)
  • Get the students into teams and use the six problems in a carousel style activity. (pupils have a set time limit at each station and must try to complete the task before their time runs out and they have to move on)
  • Give the students a few problems to work on, use poster paper so you can make a display from their work.

As an extension to all of these you could ask them to write their own questions based on the book they are currently studying in English.

If you want something different there is also this nice task on nrich which involves calculating with ISBN numbers.

Happy world book day from number loving!