This is the time of year when Year 11 begin the last minute frantic revision, complete their exams in a haze of hay fever and late nights and then have a well deserved extended Summer Holiday. Over that long summer, they will mature into sensible young adults who are ready to make those critical decisions which will impact their future career choices.
Hang on … this isn’t some idealised political pamphlet describing the leaders of tomorrow!
In reality, Year 12 stroll into the first A-Level lesson like over-confident Year 11s in their own clothes. Except in Year 11 they knew more Maths. Odds are your fresh faced class haven’t looked at a Maths book in over ten weeks!
Despite what some students may think, we teachers aren’t evil. We know they need that long summer to just be themselves. What can we do to help out our future A-Level students and allow them to relax?
I’ve put together a booklet of Maths related activities for students to dip into over the holiday which will be given to them on their last lesson. I hope your students enjoy it!
Alevel prep for Y11 (editable docx)
Alevel prep for Y11 (pdf)
I printed these four pages as a colour A5 (A4 folded) booklet and also printed them as a poster set on A3.
A short post today. This week J introduced me to the ‘MyScript Calculator’ app.
It’s a rather nifty app that converts freehand writing into mathematical calculations and solves them. It is available for most formats of smartphone and you can visit their website here.
These examples from the website show what it is capable of doing – I’m sure there is a lesson here somewhere.
Do you ever play the numbers round from the TV programme ‘Countdown’ in class?
I was on a training course the other week and whilst chatting in a break Sarah – a fellow delegate, introduced me to the free android Countdown app. It is so easy to use a 6 yr could (and does) use it.
There are quick rounds, full games and practice mode. If you choose the number practice mode, you can randomly select numbers and it will even show you the solution. So you can use Countdown as a starter without scribbling numbers on a bit of paper and only being 10 seconds ahead of the class.
Download it from the android store by searching for ‘Countdown for Android’.
A quick resource idea for you today:
If you are not familar with Pinterest, it’s basically a digital pinboard of images, which usually have extra information or weblinks. There is a whole channel of education ideas – you can ‘Repin’ other people’s ‘Pins’ or upload your own. You can have several pinboards that are either public or private.
Go to Pinterest to browse the public boards. There are also official smartphone apps available from the appropriate stores.
Smart tools was described by one reviewer as the ‘swiss army knife’ of apps. I think I agree!
You can measure distance, angles, direction, height, sound, vibration, bearings and even turn your phone into a torch, spirit level or a magnifying glass! It’s very handy for practical activities outside. The set up for different measuring elements gives you the maths behind the result too.
I’ve used it to do bearings activities and treasure hunts. I’ve also used the height measuring mode as an introduction to pythagoras.
Official demo video
Individual elements can be purchased separately for free or 65p (correct at time of publishing) each. Or you can download everything in one go. Search for ‘smart tools’ on the Play store or go to: Smart tools website
I’ve recently started using the Edexcel Past Papers revision app (Apple & Android compatible) with my GCSE and A-Level classes.
It is basically a database of past papers for all Edexcel subjects and qualifications, even iGCSE. You search by qualification, then subject, then exam session, then paper. The papers and mark schemes are already available on the internet, but the app is much quicker than googling them. It is not a complete revision resource, but it is fairly comprehensive app. Some of the PDFs are e-versions, some are scans. You can also share papers by email, which allows you to print.
The recent material is still only available through the secure teacher area of the Edexcel website, so your mock exams won’t be compromised.
My Y11 have downloaded it for personal use when they are on study leave. They suggested that even though they don’t use Edexcel for every subject, they could use it as a source of extra questions when they run out of revision materials. I’m actually impressed that they intend doing so much revision!
My Y12 have used this app in class for checking their work and also when they have forgotten the exam paper I have copied for them. It also saves me having to print out new papers and dashing to the printer. I find it rather handy having a selection of mark schemes in my pocket, especially when students are working on a variety of papers.
Note: This app has mixed reviews on both itunes and the Google Play store. I think it depends what your expectations are and what device you have.