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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.


And the top ten topic from foundation.


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.

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

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.


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 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 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 so keep checking back if you like it!

Outdoor Learning – The first instalment!

5 Mar

As the weather starts to improve there’s nothing quite like breaking free from the confines of your classroom and letting your students loose outside! Everyday this week I will be blogging about an idea to get your students up and out of the classroom…

Trigonometry in real life

This lesson has always gone down really well with my students. You need to have studied using trig for calculating missing sides and angles in right-angled triangles. I would split this into two 50 minute sessions (or some equivalent of this!) this is the Powerpoint I have used in the past – you could update it with pictures from around your school!

Lesson 1:

Present students with a question like ‘how could we work out the height of the school?’ (slide 2) and get them to brainstorm ideas. If you need to then show them slide 3 and guide them through the process of using trig. Then ask them how they might measure the length of the base and the angle. The rest of the lesson can be spent making the clinometers, some really clear instructions on a printable worksheet are available here. And designing their data collection table. You will need some trundle wheels or long tape-measures (raid the PE department!)

Lesson 2:

Group students into threes and off they go! You would probably want to place yourself somewhere central so you can keep an eye on them and you are available for help! In my experience it is also worth giving each group a little ticket you have signed explaining that they are meant to be out of class.

Back in the classroom after half an hour or so you can reveal the heights and get students to calculate the difference between their answers and yours, then they can calculate the average which you can compare to pick a winner. In with this you can discuss the accuracy of their results and even other applications (see for a resource on using trig to calculate distances in the solar system)

Your Christmas Reading List!

15 Dec

I can’t think of anything better than cuddling up in the holidays with a good book (about Maths of course). Here are Number Loving’s top holiday reads:

1. If the world were a village by David J. Smith is a fascinating account of what the world’s population would be like if it were scaled down to a village of 100 people. You are told so many facts about their ethnic origin, education, standard of living and more, making this a brilliant book to bring out when doing statistics or proportion. It also brings in global issues, for example 17 people in the village can not read and write, what is this as a fraction? or a percentage? if there are 7 billion people in the world how many can not read and write? You can generate endless questions with a sense of importance about them.

2. Addition by Toni Jordan is a fictional comedy about a fellow Maths obsessive, it is really funny and has some nice Maths references

3. Origami Fun Kit for Beginners by Dover is a great introduction to origami, students absolutely adore to do this and it brings in so much Maths in terms of shapes, fractions, angles, estimating, … the list goes on. It is well worth learning a few simple ones to bring out as a fun starter.

4. Conned Again Watson: Cautionary Tales of Logic, Math and Probability by Colin Bruce is a brilliant account of twelve Sherlock Holmes mysteries which all bring in elements of statistics and game theory, I have taken much inspiration from the stories in this book.

5. Professor Stewart’s Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities by Ian Stewart is a fabulous collection of interesting Mathematical happenings, you can dip in and out of the book and I must have got at least 20 starters and plenaries from ideas in here, there are a few in the series and all are worth a good read. There are quite a lot of books like this on the market but this is definitely one of the best.

6. Secrets and Mince Pies by Craig Barton is a very funny fictional book, written by the ever popular Mr Barton it charts the run up to Christmas of a typical family making it seasonal too, recommended to all but especially number lovers. And what is even better is that it’s available on the Kindle for less than £2!

7. Alex’s Adventures in Numberland by Alex Bellos is a brilliant book charting the travels of Alex Bellos as he jaunts around the globe, there are some real gems in here which will inspire lots of engaging starters for your lessons

8. A brief Guide to the Great Equations by Robert Crease is a stunning book, it describes the ten most beautiful equations and the story behind their conception. Of course it includes Euler’s equation but the other nine are equally brilliant. This is an absolute must read for any A-level Maths teachers to help put some history and beauty into your lessons. Or for any Maths lovers for some self-indulgence!

Happy reading and Merry Christmas from Number Loving!

Christmaths Collection Part 2

11 Dec

Not forgetting the fabulous 12 games of christmas on the TES, these 12 games are designed for primary but you can select the level of difficulty so they are suitable as a starter for your KS3 classes, I will be kicking off my lessons with one of these each day leading upto Christmas. Great fun!

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