# blog

# Refreshing Revision

It’s that time of year again, revision is truly under way in preparation for the summer 2017 exam series. We have blogged before about revision techniques such as; revision relays, treasure hunts, and thoughts & crosses activities (Anything but more past papers…, Exam Warm Ups, Exam Technique, Maths Party and Intervention Evening). In this blog we look at other revision games;

**Revision Pong**Those that are regular party goers have probably played this game in a social yet competitive environment and adapting it for the classroom is quite easy and flexible in the way it’s played. You just need a set of plastic cups (numbered), a ping pong ball and a set of questions (also numbered).

It can be played as a team game (I recommend no more than 3 per team to avoid down time). If team gets the ball in a cup say number 4, they then answer question 4 to gain points, I give 10 points for correctly answered questions. In order to keep the other team, team B, involved they can also be calculating the answer to “steal the points” if team A get it wrong or alternatively gain bonus points (I award 5). Team B would have to prove to Team A they got it correct by showing their calculations (I provide each team with mini whiteboards).

**Revision Hexagons**

These great resources from @JR-Maths-Resources are not only beautifully presented and cover a range of topics, they are differentiated from fluency in the centre to reasoning and finally problem solving as the outside layer. I use these either daily as quick starters (they take around 10 minutes) or as short homework task.

It is definitely worth checking out JR-Maths-Resources here and this set of revision skills starter checks give you a taste of the quality of his resources.

**Jenga Game**

Again some experimentation has led me to believe the best option here is to number the jenga pieces and use with a corresponding set of questions.You can see in the picture on the left that I do have a set of jenga pieces now dedicated to solving equations, but since numbering the pieces I’ve got a lot more use out of them! The game is played in the same way as the Jenna game, the only addition is that pupils must answer that question before they can remove that piece (if numbered, version on the left pupils would answer after removing it, if they get it wrong they go again). This can be differentiated, identifying the level of difficulty on the question card.

I use quiz, quiz, trade cards such as these on rounding, estimating and bounds as the question cards are numbered or relay cards such as these 9-1 Revision Relay Question cards shared by Simply Effective Resources.

**Revision Carousel**

I create a revision carousel using a variety of different tasks, one at each of the stations for the topics in the carousel. The timer is set for 7 minutes at each station and pupils rotate through the stations in groups of 3-4. At each station they either answer the questions or taking part in the activity for example Fan & Pick. Therefore a verbal but brief explanation of each station is needed, and reminder notes on how it is played at each station also helps the carousel run smoothly.

Here is an example of a carousel I ran with 6 minutes at each station.

- Sequences Fan & Pick
- Sequencees Spot the Mistake (Pupils completed this for homework)
- Sequences Fortune Teller
- Sequences Exam questions (collated from ExamPro)
- Jenga game (shorter stack) I use any task cards or relay questions such as this free set from Simply Effective Resources.
- Bill and Statement Task Cards (One of each laminated, pupils are allowed calculators)
- Properties of Numbers Learning Grid (roll the dice)
- Number Exam questions (collated from ExamPro)
- Revision Pong (Mixed exam questions from ExamPro)

One of our favourite ways to revise, which we love is to use our revision foldables, check out our blog post Fold it to download it Revision Resources and click on the image below for our premium bundle of revision foldables.

Which revision activities have you found most effective? Get in touch via @numberloving or NumberLoving’s Facebook page!

You might also be interested in visiting Store for both free and premium resources.

Thank you for reading

NumberLoving Sharon

# Instant Graphs

This post is in addition to creating instant bar charts and pictograms using Post-It notes check out the previous post. Post-it notes are great for collecting information and instantly organising that data into a bar chart or pictogram to find the mode, median and range (if applicable).

Pie charts demonstrate proportions of amounts or a population, to ensure pupils understand this it is vital that they observe some basic proportions represented in pie charts. For example half choose red, a quarter blue and a quarter green.

I always introduce pie charts in this way using pie chart wheels. Pie chart wheels are easy to make. The Instant Pie Chart Template can be downloaded with instructions.

Print the pie chart template on four different colours, cut out and then secure the wheels in place using a pin and piece of card at the back.

Pupils adjust the colours by spinning to represent the results in the Power Point. Then ask pupils to give their own results that could be represented, or not if only four colours are available.

I always ensure I have red, amber and green in my pie chart wheels as they then double up as an assessment for learning indicator. Pupils display red when they require help, amber when they feeling more confident and green when they are confident and need more of a challenge.

**Tallies and Pictograms**

Another of my favourite data handling activities is to use music when reminding young year 7 pupils of how to tally. Pick a top ten hit with a repetitive song, as the song plays pupils have to tally the number of times the word is said!

Try it with Cheryl Cole’s “you have to fight for this love” and you have yourself a real challenge. Discussions can then be held about the modal word.

Check out our post on using post-its for instant pictograms on the classroom windows!

Get in touch @numberloving and check out our free and premium resources in our Store.

# Navigate to Calculate in the new 9-1 Specification

### **UPDATED with Table of Values section below and mixed to improper conversion

## Efficient Calculator Use

The need for pupils to be comfortable and confident with their calculator by the end of their KS4/GCSE studies is not new, but the new 9-1 specification has brought to my attention some new methods (not necessarily functions) that would benefit pupils in being able to perform using and navigating their calculators efficiently. As we follow the AQA 8300 specification many of this appear repeatedly in the practice papers. You might also be interested in our blog Can you Pay my Bills? 9-1 GCSE blog post, which looks at the bank statements, invoices and pay calculations as seen in the AQA practice papers. Any of the calculator methods described are not to replace understanding or written methods, in fact they are based on a mastery of techniques, particularly when considering remainders.

### Fractions

The new 9-1 specification AQA calculator papers include questions such as this calculation below. When performed correctly this would result in an improper fraction and pupils would be required to change to a mixed number.

I couldn’t understand why so many of my students were getting this wrong. So I asked a pupil to show me how they were entering this in the calculator and it turned out the problem was entering mixed numbers! The pupils were using the primary fraction button (red arrow) and using the ‘back’ button to insert the whole part before the fraction! The calculator would then interpret this as whole multiplied by the fraction part!!! When in fact they need to use the secondary function (green arrow) in order to insert the mixed number correctly.

These questions will give answers as an improper fraction and pupils may need to convert to mixed numbers (depending on the question requirements). Using the S>D function would give the whole part; instead use the shift button to activate the mixed to improper (orange arrow to left).

### FACT Function

Although I have shown pupils this function in the past I have been reluctant to push it’s use because pupils need to complete prime factor decomposition for the non-calculator paper. However, increasingly expressing a product as its prime factors or finding the HCF/LCM is present on the new 9-1 calculator papers. To use this function, input the number for example 225, enter, then shift “FACT” and the calculator will express as a product of it’s primes. This was Q 24 from paper 2 of the foundation AQA practice set 3 which required pupils to express 225 as a product of it’s prime factors, this is awarded two marks. Pupils will save time if they use this function and that time can be used to complete the HCF/LCM part of the question.

This function can also help with questions requiring pupils to identify larger prime numbers as seen in Q3 of the Foundation AQA practice set 4, paper 3. If it is a prime number for e.g 97, after using the FACT function 97 would be displayed; therefore it is prime.

### Table of Values

I had totally forgotten about this function, thankfully my Twitter colleagues @MrCarterMaths and @Mathematical_A reminded me!

Select mode (green arrow) which will give the four options seen on the display. Select option 3 : TABLE. You are then prompted by f(x) to enter the function, enter the function using the ALPHA key and the bracket key with the X (red arrows). Ensure pupils check carefully that they have entered this correctly. You are then prompted with “START?” followed by “END?”, both referring to the range of values of X in the table, e.g. from -2 to 5 (remember to us (-) for minus two), press enter after each. The final prompt is “STEPS?”, i.e. what is X going up in (most often one). Then a table of values is given in a vertical format. @Mathematical_A has mentioned that the new FX991EX has dual tables!!

Here is a video tutorial from @GuideCalculator on this function and you might also be interested in using the table function to complete trial and improvement (although not explicitly on the new specification, it could fall under iteration).

### Remainders

Here is one of the treasure hunt cards requiring remainder to be found, again this was originally poorly answered by my pupils despite it being on one of the calculator papers. This style of question is seen in the AQA foundation practice papers, for example Q12 from paper 3 of set 3.

Below is the method we show pupils to tackle this efficiently; this slide is taken from our Walking Talking Mock.

### Rounding

Scientific calculators can be used to set a number of decimal places (using shift>set up>6. Fix), however this is not something that I choose to show pupils; they should be able to round correctly and there’s too much of chance they don’t change it back! So instead it is good ‘exam technique’ to insist pupils write down the whole answer and then round as required. Again a slide from our walking talking mock on the left demonstrates these calculator paper tips.

To help refine pupils calculator paper skills we have produced some resources for use with a scientific calculator and knowledge of skills such as Pythagoras’ Theorem, Trigonometry etc. Therefore this resource is best used once you’re confident pupils have the range of skills on the topics listed below.

### 9-1 Calculator Use Resources

The first new resource is our 9-1 Efficient Calculator Use Treasure Hunt activity differentiated to two levels; amber and green. The amber level covers the following topics; finding remainders, calculating with fractions, improper to mixed, area of fraction of circle, product of primes, Pythagoras, Rounding. The green level covers Trigonometry, remainders, compound interest, density, rounding, area of sector, scales, conversions, using formula. Each of these require pupils to round correctly i.e. decimal places or significant figures.

Check out our Treasure Hunt blog post for different ways to use treasure hunt activities in the classroom and beyond.

The second resource is our 9-1 Efficient Calculator Use Worksheets which includes two worksheets to complement the first resource to make a full lesson or use as homework. Worksheet 1 covers six topics (powers/roots, place value, remainders, primes, fractions and percentages). Worksheet 2 covers three overall topics but each progresses in challenge (use of formula, right angled triangles i.e. Pythagoras’ theorem and trigonometry, circles (arcs/sectors).

What calculator tips do you give your pupils? Get in touch @numberloving or NumberLoving’s Facebook page.

Check out our free and premium resources in our Store.

Photo Credit: Calculator Scientific by Fornax (Own work) is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

# Can you Pay my Bills? 9-1 GCSE

A quick hello to all readers! It has been a while, we have been busy behind the scenes creating new resources to meet the new 9-1 specification.

Bills and Statements, Debits & Credits, Task Cards is one of our latest resources which is designed to cover all money related questions as seen on the new 9-1 specification GCSE, in particular on the AQA exam board. This resource includes 5 Bill Statement, 4 Pay statements and 4 Bank statement task cards, instructions and solutions. Here is an example of one of the task cards, in this task card pupils are required to find the missing balances from the bank statement, ensuring pupils understand ‘debit’ and ‘credit’.

To complete this resource we have designed this quic and simple starter resource, included in the download. Pupils answer questions on mini-whiteboard. In doing this activity first with my class I was able to introduce terminology such as debit, VAT and recap calculating pay (see the example below)

Check back soon for our next blog on calculator use resources!

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# Translation Today!

**A quick post about one of the four transformations- Translation!**

**Hook**

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 dis-ciphering 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 full resource and solutions from our store here.

We’d love to hear how you hook your pupils in! Get in touch @numberloving and follow our Facebook NumberLoving Page

Check out our free and premium resources in our NumberLoving Store.

# Easter Mathematical Treasure Trove

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! Purchase it from here!

Check out our other blogs for Easter ideas!

An Eggciting Eggstravanganza of Resources

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

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? Get in touch @numberloving and follow our Facebook NumberLoving Page

Check out our free and premium resources in our Store.

# Pi Day Resources

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.

A 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.

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!

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.

All three are available in our Pi Day bundle

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.

Get in touch @numberloving and follow our Facebook NumberLoving Page

Check out our free and premium resources in our NumberLoving Store.

# Best Buy!

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!

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!

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# Exam Technique

A quick blog about different strategies and resources to get your class and classroom exam ready!

**Displays**

Print this NumberLoving display for your classroom and use it to reinforce the meaning of command words. They can displayed along side the meaning and it also a good activity to remove the command word and ask the pupils to state the command word given the meaning.

Print and laminate this exam countdown display, displaying the most appropriate length of time, whether it be months, weeks or days. Using a whiteboard pen this can easily be updated so the countdown to exams is clear for all.

**Exam Practice**

Training to Triple read

Encourage pupils not only to read the questions but to triple read the question, each time with a different purpose;

- Highlight the figures in yellow (numbers or words e.g half)
- Highlight command words in green
- Read again “aloud in your head” with emphasise on those words

Do this as part of your teaching, highlighting in two colours, modelling by reading aloud with emphasis on command words. It will soon become part and parcel of pupils’ approach to questions.

Start from the back

Little change with the potential of a big impact on pupils’ resilience and mindset. Starting from the back when pupils are more focused and moving towards the front of the paper and the easier questions. Very relevant if working on papers in class, start from the back so pupils can get support from peers, the teacher etc.

However we are not fans of death by past paper, check out our post “Anything but more past papers” for alternative revision techniques.

Walking Talking Mock

This is large scale modelling; modelling as a teaching strategy is simply put as ‘thinking out loud’. Therefore modelling for pupils the thought processes when approaching problems. Pupils will increasingly take this role of modelling, guided and refined by the teacher. The walking-talking mock is described by the Guardian here as the “new initiative intended to boost students’ exam technique”. In brief it is a large scale version of modelling, highlighting exam technique and key exam words, the lead teacher hints, modelling thought processes related to the mock paper in front of the pupil, question by question in the exam hall. Dragonfly Training give a good description of how they ran a walking-talking mock here or check out Kristian Still’s blog here, this is another good example of how to approach the walking talking mock.

Key Skills Builder

As mentioned in our post some topics keep on coming up so it is important that these skills are embedded in pupils’ practice. We discuss exam warm ups as a way of reinforcing and revising vital topics. Check out the blog here.

Has anyone used these strategies or other strategies? We would love to hear you views! Get in touch @numberloving and follow our Facebook NumberLoving Page

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# How do you teach yours? Maths Department CPD

Effective use of department time, this is a daunting task for a newly appointed head of department! So like most when I first took this responsibility I made sharing good practice (SGP) a permanent agenda item as one way of continuous professional development. However, I soon realised that this wasn’t meeting the needs of professional development for the team, all of which were at different stages of their career. The sharing good practice item too often had become one member of the department “sharing a resource” they have used or ‘found’ recently. For many reasons I decided to keep the format of SGP (rota basis throughout the department). So instead of replacing it, I added other activities to department meetings that I felt actually resulted in discussions of good practice in terms of the teaching of Mathematics. In this post I describe three tried and tested strategies for keeping the objective of deeper understanding at the forefront of your departments’ planning and preparation.

**First: Why the importance in the Teaching of Mathematics
**One of the key message from “Mathematics: made to measure” (read it here) is our responsibility to enable all pupils to develop a conceptual understanding of the mathematics they learn, its structures and relationships and fluent recall of mathematical knowledge and skills in order to equip them to solve familiar problems as well as tackle creatively the more complex and unfamiliar ones that lie ahead. The Ofsted 2012 descriptors found on page 30 of this summary of Mathematics’ reports (another good read) are certainly still relevant when discussing teaching approaches with your department. One element for outstanding quality of teaching is; “Teaching is rooted in the development of all pupils’ conceptual understanding of important concepts and progression within the lesson and over time. It enables pupils to make connections between topics and see the ‘big picture’”.

**The Bigger Picture**

This is a simple concept in which you ask the department to work in pairs during department time, to consider particular topics/skills on three different levels.

1. Method; what is the method, the skill in its most basic form? Are there any generalisations (known by some as rules grrr)?

2. Understanding; How do you teach for understanding? How do you lead the pupils to make their own generalisations?

3. The bigger picture; What are the applications? Are there any links to other topics?

This really is a great for unpicking your departments’ approaches to individual topics in detail. Often revealing gaps in staff knowledge and understanding (particularly NQT/RQT’s), and can even reveal if staff have been oblivious using and teaching tricks just because they were taught that way. How many of your department now how to conceptually explain the division of a fraction by a fraction. This NumberLoving resource, download for free from here, includes a number of examples such as operating with indices,operating with fractions, standard form and a blank grid (probably the most useful) which you can adapt to suit any topic coming up in your scheme of work.

**How do you teach yours?
**This second approach requires some forward planning, and forethought from your department members. Prior to the meeting give each member of the department a “How do you teach yours” sheet on the topic you will be discussing. Here is an example of what this might look like for the topics of multiplication and division.

As you can see the department members are asked to complete each indicating how they would teach the pupils, prior to the meeting. Once at the meeting methods, approaches are discussed and debated. This naturally leads to an agreement of what is the best way to teach for understanding. Once agreed on the best approach this can be documented as shown in the example on the right.

This department activity could easily be adapted for any subject area. I have provided three examples of “How do you teach yours” to help get you started. Download it for free here.

**Department Reading
**This can be done with any text or report which you feel will aid discussion. With a pre-determined focus direct the department towards the book/report, or even better provide a paper copy in their tray. Department should read this in preparation for the meeting.

Nix the tricks

As described on the website this book is “filled with alternatives to the shortcuts so prevalent in mathematics education and explains exactly why the tricks are so bad for understanding math”. I would highly recommend providing each member of your department with this book. This makes for both a great discussion point and a handy resource for alternative methods. I have also found it useful as a point of referral when during work samples I have observed potential teaching of tricks and not of understanding. This book can be purchased online or downloaded as a pdf for free from the Nix the Tricks website here.

I hope this has provided some ideas of how to promote continuous professional development rooted around the effective teaching of mathematics!

Thank you for reading! Get in touch @numberloving and follow our Facebook NumberLoving Page

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