Maths Resource of the Week 18


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  • A challenging puzzle for post-16 students.
  • What is it? - Puzzles are often seen as only applicable to Key Stage 3 and 4 students. However, there is a wealth of puzzles out there for post-16 students, and these are often the very students who need their problem solving and thinking skills refreshing and developing. In my experience, as soon as exam questions are presented in a slightly unfamiliar format or out of context, even the brightest students struggle. NRICH is a truly fantastic website for the kind of puzzles and challenges that really stretch and engage students. All puzzles come with teacher notes, hints and solutions, and often contain interactivities which students can use to help tackle the problem. This particular one challenges students to find the quickest route across a ploughed field. It is not as simple as it sounds…
  • How could it be used? - NRICH puzzles are often substantial in their content and bring in lots of different areas of maths. This particular one will test students’ ability to form equations and then use the chain rule to solve a maximum problem. It could quite easily take up half an hour of a lesson, but it would be a very worthwhile half hour. Such a problem presents a good opportunity to get post-16 students involved in some group work, which is also something that tends to be lacking the further into maths education a student gets. There is a nice interactivity that students can use to help them solve the puzzle if they have access to a computer. At the end of the problem, students could be encouraged to share not only their solutions, but also how they went about tackling the puzzle, the problems they encountered, and the strategies they used.
  • How have you used this resource? - Please share your ideas below.
  • Uploaded by nrich maths

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TES secondary maths teaching resources