I love my new buzzers and so do the pupils! They add a bit of fun to a wide variety of classroom activities. These farmyard buzzers are called learning resource buzzers and are available here (as well as other places). They are sold in sets of 4, so I have invested in the farmyard set to the left and the answer buzzers below so that I have 8 available.
Simply add to a game a of bingo to add an element of fun, pupils who get a line or a full house press the buzzer instead of shouting bingo. The desks are in groups in my classroom so I place one buzzer on each desk so that it is in arms reach of 5-6 pupils. Check out our blog “Bingo is Jackpot Joy” for other ideas and resources for mathematical bingo.
Again simply put the buzzers in arm reach of groups of pupils when playing countdown. I found this really helps especially when pupils need longer than the standard 30 seconds. Pupils can buzz when they get the answer or depending on ability when they are within 5 of the target number. I use SubTangent countdown here when playing with a class.
Numbered heads together is a Kagan approach, see previous post here on the cooperative learning techniques including Numbered Heads together. In my buzzer adaptation of the game pupils are put into groups, each group is given a buzzer. All pupils complete a question in silence on mini whiteboards. When they have completed the question they stand up, when the whole team has stood up they can then discuss. If they all agree they press the buzzer, if not they must sit back down again until they can convince each other of the correct answer. I would also use a scoring system similar to the one used for relay races (another fun classroom activity described here in our blog “anything but more past papers” which looks at different ways of revising with exam classes).
So many different ways to use the buzzers, they were more than a worthwhile investment!
NumberLoving is entering its next stage of development and we look forward to bringing you even more in the New Year, make sure you check back soon! Get in touch @numberloving and check out our free and premium resources in our NumberLoving Store.
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 four activities aimed specifically at secondary students;
In the first activity students have to use their skills of adding and subtracting fractions to ‘collect the Easter joke’. The questions are increasingly difficult; starting with common denominators to finding common denominators, to adding and subtracting mixed numbers.
In the second activity students have to use angle properties of parallel lines, isosceles triangles and angles in polygons to calculate missing angles and then shade in the grid to create a picture of a basket of Easter eggs.
The third resource pupils have to find the mode, median or range from a list of numbers, final questions require the evaluation of algebraic terms first.
Finally in the last resource students have to rearrange the functions to the form y=mx+c in order to identify the gradient. Again this is a Math At activity and pupils will shade all the squares with that answer.
These could be used with KS3 and KS4 students and could form part of the lesson or be set as a homework task 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 check out our other resources in our store here.
Check out Whieldon’s mini mystery here or below is an example of a free Mathematical mystery.
.Get in touch @numberloving and check out our free and premium resources in our NumberLoving Store.
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. 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.
Download the file here : Mathematical_Whodunit
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 @numberloving.
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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!
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.
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!
Get in touch @numberloving and check out our free and premium resources in our NumberLoving Store.
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.
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.
Print and laminate a few sets of top trumps, a wide range is available on our TES shop. 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 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.
Free web-based graphing software and much much more. Download to your desktop now here, offline installation also available.
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!
Sign up for
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 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.
BP trading game
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 “Hama Beads & Symmetry”, where we use these beads to create symmetrical patterns. Use as an end of topic activity or great for open evenings.
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.
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!
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.
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! Get in touch @numberloving and check out our free and premium resources in our NumberLoving Store.
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
Calculator racing from @numberloving on twitter
A brilliant mystery inspired by our post Mystery and Mathematics
(download the full resource on the TES here)
Thank you to everyone who’s tried our ideas, if you have any pictures we would love to see them, tweet us @numberloving. Keep posted as we’ll shortly be blogging about some projects to keep you busy this summer! Get in touch @numberloving and check out our free and premium resources in our NumberLoving Store.