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Best Buy!

29 Feb

Like a lot of teachers I spend a fair amount on things to support my teaching. For example, the smelly stickers from PTS are a favourite of mine for using as rewards. However, without a doubt the best buy I’ve made so far is my Hue HD webcam. This may seem expensive at £39.90, but considering I use it every day it has paid for itself time and time again!

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It’s basically a webcam, but it has a weighted base and an adjustable arm so it works really well as a visualizer. You install the software (this takes a couple of minutes) and then simply plug in via the USB connector. I use this on a daily basis and it really is brilliant! Here are some ways I use it:

  • Pick a student at the end of the lesson and display their work. Get the class to assess it and feedback. This is an instant plenary, it exposes misconceptions, promotes discussion, encourages good presentation and much more!
  • As an extension get a student to write an exam question on the topic you’ve been doing. Then just put their question under the webcam and you’ve got your plenary sorted.
  • Display an exit ticket from the previous lesson and get students to find the mistake as a starter.
  • Display students’ exam responses and get pupils to mark them.
  • Use after marking books to showcase really good work or a mistake lots have made.
  • Use when teaching constructions (or measuring angles etc.) so pupils can physically see you doing it.
  • Use to display a nice question in a book which you only have 1 copy of.

The webcam also has a little button on the top which takes a picture, so you can save their work, tweet it, email it to a parent – whatever you fancy!

 

 

AQA Maths Topic Analysis

3 Feb

It’s getting to that time of year where we start to think about year 11 revision, but it’s sometimes hard to know where to start. Obviously you speak to your class and you analyse their mock papers but beyond that it’s impossible to revise everything. So, as a starting point I decided to analyse all the AQA Linear Maths papers from the last 4 years to see which topics were a good bet. Here are the top ten topics from higher.

Higher

And the top ten topic from foundation.

Found

These results should make for an interesting discussion with your department, there are certainly things which I have never considered revising in detail (like money) but which should offer a good pay off for students. Obviously these results need to be taken with a good dose of common sense too!

If you are with OCR there is a similar analysis available on TES here shared by m34maths.

Body Surface Area and other fun tasks!

24 Mar

bodies

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 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!

pyramid

 

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.

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 around I have designed three mysteries aimed specifically at secondary students, all can be downloaded for free on our resource site numberloving.co.uk.

In the first mystery students have to use the clues to determine which chocolate shop 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.

Capture

Finally in the last resource students have to work out whether Benny makes any profit from selling hot cross buns at a market.

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. Instructions and ideas for support and extension are given within each resource, the solutions are also given at the end. If you like these resources you can download our mysteries bundle which contains ten different mysteries covering a variety of topic areas.

2012 in review

31 Dec

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 91,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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
  • Reading bank statements
  • 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

How to download

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!

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