306. Robson to the Rescue – a classroom essential

Here in the UK there are major curriculum changes going on. There is new content in the curriculum – unless you are a certain age, in which case it’s old stuff coming back. All the current class textbooks will be missing chunks of the syllabi and who can afford to buy class sets of new ones. Canny teachers are filling the gaps with worksheets and booklets. However that in class reference for these topics is an issue.

I thought I’d get a few class maths dictionaries – you know, the little pocket sized ones. Dead-end: no one publishes them anymore. Then I thought ‘Just get standard Maths dictionaries’: no chance, they are over £10 each. I saw a celebrity endorsed child’s Maths support book in my local discount store, bright and colourful, only £5 … except it didn’t have the content for GCSE. I was about to give up when a search of Amazon took me back to 1979…

Peter Robson published his Maths Dictionary through Newby books back in 1979.

It’s got the new curriculum fairly well covered too. The diagrams date it a little, but for roughly £4 it is a little gem.There are not only facts, but examples and diagrams in an unintimidating fashion. It’s also a handy A5 booklet size.

I’ve bought one for each of my group tables. It’s available from lots of online retailers, including a bulk discount for 10 or more on Amazon. I’d suggest getting one for yourself to review and then leave in your desk drawer for general reference.

The ISBN is: 978-1-872686-18-9

Thank you Mr Robson 

305. Get Carter

Seriously, you need to Get Carter ….

Get Carter 1971 Poster

Or rather head over to the amazing website by Mr Darren Carter: MrCarterMaths.com

I don’t know where to start – in a few clicks you have access to tiered questions on a multitude of topics with answers. Answer in an exercise book or on a mini whiteboard – it’s genius! Another click and the questions change.

If that wasn’t enough, you can print out individual worksheets at each level – differentiation without a headache.

I chose to print out the three tiers and award them points. Bronze = 1 point, Silver = 2 points, Gold = 3 points. I put together a cover sheet with instructions and the students instantly had control of their homework. All I asked for was 20 points of answers. The ones who need the practise can do lots of low scoring questions, the ones who need a challenge can do fewer questions at a harder level. My task is available to download below (full credit to Mr Carter given) – It prints nicely as an A5 booklet.

Tiered Proportion Homework Booklet

Once you’ve visited the site, follow him on Twitter @MrCarterMaths

304. S1 Revision Clock

If you are a regular on Twitter you may have seen some of the many revision clocks being shared. Basically 12 questions, 5 minutes each. Students can revise up to twelve different skills, under timed conditions, hence improving exam technique. My favourites are from the lovely Mel & Jo (@just_maths & @mathsjem). Not to be confused with Mel & Sue! (Random British humour/baking reference).

teaching_wall_clock_cafepressImage credit: www.cafepress.co.uk

  • Mel’s blog post on revision clocks can be found here: Just Maths
  • Jo’s collection of revision clock resources can be found here: Resourceaholic
  • Don’t skip these links – they are good!

Now I used one of the C2 revision clocks with Y12. It was an eye-opener: some students were excellent at managing their time, some rushed the questions and wanted to move on (hence not checking their work and making daft avoidable mistakes like they have all year!), others gradually improved their time efficiency and a few ignored the time constraint and sat stuck on one question, when there were so many other questions they could have excelled at. Constructive feedback all round!

So I decided that we would do the same for Statistics. I put together a set of questions from Edexcel testbase – full credit to them is given on the sheets. They challenged my students due to the need for accuracy in calculations and the sheer laziness of not wanting to look up formulae. If you want to do the same, just download the resources here:

S1 revision clock (pdf)

S1 revision clock Answers (pdf)

You will also need to print the answer sheet onto A3: Answer sheet courtesy of JustMaths

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

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.

Easy!

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:

image

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?