Tag Archives: mathchat

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!

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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.


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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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How do you teach yours? Dept. CPD

16 Feb

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?
how teach blankThis 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.

how you teachAs 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.

imageDepartment 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!

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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.

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Spooktacular Colour by Numbers

30 Oct

Colour by number is a well known childhood activity and in most cases requires no maths other than number recognition.

paint by number completepaint by number blank






Take for example this Halloween Scarecrow picture, which I have completed online using the Color It by Numbers website here. As you can see each number represents a particular colour and once finished the image is more defined.

To add difficulty to this activity each number can be replaced by a question with that numerical answer. For example this pumpkin colour by number requires students to solve the equations to find the value of x. Each answer is then one of the five colours. This worksheet can be downloaded from Education.com, which is a free account based website.

I am still not satisfied that there is enough challenge for all pupils, in which case I use a blank template such as this bat picture below taken from Coloritbynumber.com here, and ask pupils to create their own question with the correct numerical values for which ever topic is most relevant. blank bat

You could ask pupils to create a set of questions limited by topic area for example; BIDMAS, solving equations, area, perimeter, evaluating formulae, alternatively pupils could create it based on a number of topics recently studied. Their work (when checked) could then be given an a starter of homework activity for another class.

Other Halloween Activities we Love

Relay Races

halloween relayWe love relay races as a great team and review activity, check out our blog post here about how to run a relay race. A collection of relay races for all occasions, not just Halloween, can be downloaded from here made by Chris Smith @AAP03102.

Skeleton Rotational Symmetry


Check out our post on making some Halloween decorations using rotational symmetry here.

Witches Brew

witches brew

Check out our blog here.

Thank you for reading NumberLoving!

Sharon and Laura

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


Volume with Mario and Luigi

30 Oct

angry2One of our most popular blog posts to date has been “Nets to catch Angry Birds” (view here) in which these computer game characters are constructed into 3D shapes using nets. Leading to investigations about area, volume, surface area and scale factors and some great display work.

In our pursuit to continue to “Pimp Our Displays” as described in an earlier post here, I wanted to do something different to Angry Birds. I’ll admit I am not an avid game player at all but even I know Minecraft is big and very ‘blocky’ in its nature, so I went searching and it really didn’t take long, here is what I found. First I came across this TES resource, which includes the net of a Minecraft zombie and creeper, this was uploaded by Daniohara.

minecraft_steveSome further research and I found FPS-X-Games.com blog by Steven Bear and his printable resources on his post “Minecraft Mob” here. His post includes nets to build Steve the Minecraft character, shown on the left. Nets to make the Creeper, the Pig, the Zombie and the Spider.

Barking Dog also provides printable nets for the Minecraft materials such as sand, dirt, stone and grass, check it out here. And check out a Minecraft Fan Club page here with more printable nets.

I was still not satisfied, I continued to think about how I could bring the classwork into a great display and bingo I thought Mario! Mario is timeless, everyone knows Mario, Luigi, those blocks and that tune!

Wow check out this site Deviant Art and Taringa.net from here I downloaded the resources ready for the Mario class and display work. So the plan is to print these in full colour, pupils can then construct, consolidating their learning about surface area. I will then make a Mario 3D display, by having at least two separate rows of 3D mystery blocks and 3D versions of Mario, Luigi and the other characters. I will then get the pupils to do the calculations of volume or surface area alongside the display!

Check these out nets;

mario_bros___cubeecraft___papercraft_by_marcokobashigawa-d6z2mps cube mariomushroom
luigi_mario_bros___cubeecraft___papercraft_by_marcokobashigawa-d6z2luxSo what if Mario is not your thing, just image search “Cubecraft Cartoons” and if there is a cartoon character you can think of I bet it is there!

Thanks for reading NumberLoving, we hope you find the ideas useful! Get in touch @numberloving and check out our free and premium resources in our TES NumberLoving Store.

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