New GCSE – what’s the problem?

1 May

The new GCSE continues to cause 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. It is clear via the specimen and four set of practice papers published so far that they are much less routine and less accessible than the current specification. Again, this isn’t really an issue in itself,  I welcome the challenge and problem solving, I just hope I have been able to provide my students with the skills they need.

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. Above is a picture of how students can “Plan for QWC”  using this window overlay. The aim of the overlay is to help pupils breakdown the complexity of the problems; not always useful but has been for most students in the beginning.

Here are just some of the resources I’m using;

AQA have released a set of 90 maths problem solving resources, download from here.

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 NumberLoving are developed specifically with the new GCSE in mind. The mysteries in particular help to develop resilience and thinking skills.

Don Steward’s Median blog has an unbelievable and great range of activities, including this problem solving section. Also check out this post Favourite Problems from Joanne Morgan writer of award winning Resourceaholic.com.

Check out these 16 Round 9-1 GCSE Maths Problem Solving questions from m4ths.com by Steve Blades.

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 and therefore as a matter of course they are able to succeed at the new GCSE. I’d really like to hear other ideas and resources people are using,  get in touch @numberloving and check out our free and premium resources in our TES NumberLoving Store.

This blog post has been sat in drafts for over 12 months! Thankfully in that time there has been a wealth of resources created and shared, too many to include in this post. I have tweaked this draft a little and published, thanks for the encouragement from Twitter Colleagues @ColleenYoung and @mhorley

Instant Graphs

22 Apr

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 intructions.

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 TES NumberLoving Store.

New Store

17 Apr

Hello all NumberLoving readers!

Sorry we have been away, we have been busy getting married and setting up our new store NumberLoving TES and NumberLoving TpT! This is a quick post to let all our readers and followers know there will be a 20% sale from tomorrow 17th April until midnight Friday the 21st April.

new-shop

Get in touch @numberloving and follow our Facebook NumberLoving Page

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

Can you Pay my Bills? 9-1 GCSE

12 Apr

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 and moving all resources to our new TES NumberLoving online store.

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 FREE Bills, Statements, Quick Fire Starter Questions starter resource. 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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Check out our free and premium resources in our TES NumberLoving Store.

Translation Today!

24 Mar

move it move itA 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 TES store here and don’t forget to download the free starter which you could use with this lesson; also in 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 TES NumberLoving Store.

Easter Mathematical Treasure Trove

22 Mar

easter-collect-a-joke-previewAnother 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 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.

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

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

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.

pie

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.

All three are available in our Pi Day bundle, check it out here.

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 TES NumberLoving Store.

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