303. Extra, extra, read all about it!

It’s that time of year again – end of year assessments. You do everything you can for your students, including ensuring all students get their SEN entitlement … but have you ever wondered if extra time actually works? Can you prove to a student that staying those extra 15 minutes is worth it? Does your SEN co-ordinator ask for evidence?


Image credit: Paper Mate Flair (my favourite felt tips as a child, now relaunched)

Now, let’s make this clear – I’m not fussy about pen colour in marking and I’d never penalise a student for not having a fancy colour pen. Student work in blue or black is fine by me.

Back to the extra time element. When extra time kicks in, get your students to change pen colour. At the end total up the marks gained in regular pen and the marks gained in coloured pen. Total them up and you have your assessment result. You also have what they would have got if they hadn’t had extra time. You have just got evidence for the SEN department and you can demonstrate whether it made a difference.

In conclusion, I did this with my Y12 students and for two students it showed they can do the work, they just needed processing time – it made a two grade difference!

302. Log Proof Puzzle

If you can guess where today’s blog image came from you obviously consume too much damn fine cherry pie and fresh coffee!

log lady

Image credit: Pinterest

You may have guessed that the topic of this post is logs. If you are introducing the rules for adding and subtracting logs or revising them, I have just the resource for you. It’s a basic proof of both rules with a twist. The instructions are in the wrong order and you must rearrange them into the right order.


Are you sure?

For those of you who have a student or two who rush everything and don’t read the instructions there is a sting in the tail. One of the lines of proof is a tiny bit wrong. The methodical student will find it, the one who races through may end up changing more than one line – hence breaking the rules.

Have fun!

Proving log rules for addition and subtraction

Answer: It’s the ‘Log Lady’ from the cult classic ‘Twin Peaks’!

301. How much is my sandwich?

A visual discussion starter for you:


These three pots of sandwich filling cost £1 each. The flavours are egg mayo, chicken & bacon and cheese & onion.
How much would the 182g chicken filling cost if it weighed the same as the others?
The large pots contain 5 servings and the small pot contains 3 servings – are they the same size serving?

If you zoom in on the picture you could generate your own questions based on the nutritional information eg calories per serving.

You could extend this to the snacks in students’ bags. Are they as healthy as they think?

300. Name that Number

Simple little starter for you today. Minimum preparation, personalised challenge.


  • Paper or whiteboards


  • Hand out mini whiteboards or use paper.
  • Write the alphabet on the board.
  • Assign each letter a value. You can go for the standard 1 to 26 or choose a mixture of big/small numbers – maybe a negative number or two.
  • Get each student to write down their name and associated numbers.
  • Write a target number eg 100 on your board.
  • Each student must use the numbers of their name to make the target. If they can’t, they must get as close as they can.
  • If they make that target either find another way or change the target number.
  • Alternatively once they’ve finished they could use their classmate’s name – did they use the same method?


  • You can make this as easy or difficult as you want by changing the target or the alphabet numbers.
  • Throw in some fractions or decimals – go all the way and thrown in algebraic indices or standard form. You are the best person to judge your students’ level of challenge..
  • You could allow surnames, you could insist all numbers are used.
  • Put three alphabet variations on the board for mixed ability teaching.
  • If you are teaching a class not in the English language (eg Welsh, Greek, Russian), where the alphabet is different, this still works just assign each letter/character a number in the same way.
  • The possibilities are huge – have fun!

Note: this isn’t numerology, it’s proper Maths!

299. Is it good value for money?

Those ‘value for money’ or ‘best buy’ questions always put some students into a muddle. The usual response is ‘The bigger pack is always better value for money, so why have I got to do working out?’

Really? Is that always true?

Try these packets of cereal (Weetabix) from Asda:

The first one says 72 biscuits for £5.68


The second one says £3 for 48 biscuits.

Put the price and number of biscuits per pack on the board and ask students what they think. Once they’ve discussed it you could ask whether they thought that kind of pricing happened in real life.  Then you can pull the starter together by projecting these pictures onto the screen/board.

298. The Mensuration Challenge

Here is a fun little activity, including task sheet, for recapping measuring distance, time and angles.

Image credit: freepik.com

It’s simply a set of mini-challenges designed to familiarise students with practical equipment and get them out of their seats. We had lots of fun measuring all sorts of things – width of a smile, length of a tongue, angle of a nose, time spent on one leg – the limit was their creativity!

Mensuration Challenges (pdf)

Mensuration Challenges (docx – editable)

297. Crabby Functions

I take no credit for this ‘aide-memoire’ – it comes from a most delightful and hardworking student. To quote a colleague “She is the poster-child for the benefits hard work”.

Let’s call this student Natasha (not even close to her real name). Natasha had been struggling to work out the difference between graph/function transformations, in particular f(x+a) and f(x)+a. Which way did the graph move? How could you tell? Then she had a brain wave:

She drew little Y shapes on the brackets:

One of the brackets now looks like a little crab:

And we all know crabs move sideways – so it most be a horizontal translation!




Thank you Natasha!