# Maths 'resource of the week' collections: 1- 6

### A collection of maths resources that have been featured as ‘resource of the week’.

#### Lots of lateral thinking puzzles

• Some fantastic puzzles to help develop your students’ thinking and problem solving skills.
• What is it? - If there is one thing students of all ages and abilities struggle with it is thinking independently and working through a problem. They are so used to well structured questions and having help readily to hand in the classroom that when it comes to an open-ended, unstructured problem they have a tendency to down tools and give in. This is increasingly becoming an issue with the introduction of increased functionality and less structured questions in the new GCSE. Whilst this lovely collection of lateral thinking puzzles will not transform your students into world class problem solvers over night, it might just guide them on the right track, encouraging them to experiment and attack problems from lots of different angles.
• How could it be used? - These puzzles are great to use as starters, plenaries, or for extension work any time some little bright spark finishes ahead of everyone else. They could be projected up on the IWB or printed out as a booklet of questions. These problems also lend themselves well to group work, encouraging high levels of communication and collective problem solving.
• How have you used this resource? - Please share your ideas below.

#### Murder Mystery

• A challenging mystery to engage your students and get them thinking logically
• What is it? - Mysteries are one of the greatest and most powerful lesson resources around. They are fun to teach, students absolutely love doing them, and best of all loads and loads of maths gets done without anybody ever actually realising it. Mysteries also help promote invaluable skills like team-work, communication, logical thinking and problem solving. This is a fantastic murder mystery which helps test and develop students’ skills of code breaking and co-ordinates.
• How could it be used? - Mysteries lend themselves perfectly to group work. This particular one is probably best suited to a year 7 or 8 group or a low ability year 9. Arrange the students into groups of 3 or 4, read the hints, give out the clues, have the answers (and possibly a prize?) to hand, and let your class of mini detectives get cracking.
• How have you used this resource? - Please share your ideas below.

#### Algebra Simplifying Trail

• A fun code-breaking activity that helps students get to grips with simplification
• What is it? - This is one of those rarest of things - a fun Algebra resource. Students are given a set of questions that require them to simplify algebraic expressions. They must then match up their answers with the answers on the cards to reveal a corresponding symbol. This symbol then helps unlock a code which reveals a secret message. Great fun! And of course, whilst students are busy beavering away at this they are fine tuning their simplification skills without even realising it.
• How could it be used? - Maths trails are great fun for students (and teachers!). They are not the quietest lessons ever, but underneath the noise there is a tremendous amount of work going on. Place the cards at strategic points around the classroom, divide the students up into groups of 2-4, explain the rules, hand out the questions, and let the mayhem commence. This would also make a great Open Day or Transition activity with cards laced all around the school.
• How have you used this resource? - Please share your ideas below.

#### Algebra Countdown

• A great algebraic twist on the classic Countdown game
• What is it? - I am often blown away by what Excel can do. This resource takes the classic numbers game from the TV show Countdown and adds a lovely little algebraic twist. Instead of having a target number to make using the cards, this time it is a target expression. The file has been designed so not only can it generate an infinite number of questions, it also provides a solution if needed. Fantastic. Just make sure you enable macros when asked by Excel, otherwise it won’t work!
• How could it be used? - This would be a tremendous starter activity to act as a reminder for a class who have already studied simplification, or likewise a plenary for a group who have just completed the topic. Why not make it into a bit of a competition? Split the class into two, give them 30 seconds per question, 2 points for a correct answer, 1 penalty point for an incorrect answer, and a bonus point if your answer has more than two operations in it. Let battle commence.
• How have you used this resource? - Please share your ideas below.

#### Renaissance Mathematics: Big Changes

• A great insight into one of the most interesting periods of mathematics history
• What is it? - The Renaissance was an incredibly significant time in the development of mathematics, and yet if you ask the average student exactly what was going on in the world of maths during the Renaissance you are likely to receive a slightly blank expression. This wonderful pack of resources will hopefully help shed some light onto this fascinating period of time. There are links to excellent video clips by people such as the wonderful Marcus de Sautoy and even a comprehension sheet to make sure your students’ minds are on the job.
• How could it be used? - This would be good to use before embarking upon a maths project, to try and inspire your students to think outside of the box and to not shy away for any challenges. It would also be good to show at the end of term - not quite the Transformers 2 DVD that your students might demand, but they may just enjoy it.
• How have you used this resource? - Please share your ideas below.