Mathematics guru Alexander Forrest, aka Mathsmutt, creates puzzles and questions to show students how maths skills are used in everyday life.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a teacher of mathematics in Scotland, with interests in physics, computing, astronomy and aircraft. Digital learning has always been a passion of mine and I started creating materials for my free maths website shortly after moving into teaching.
Why are cross-curricular skills important to teach?
Problem solving is not just for maths! I believe that engaging in puzzles can help unlock higher order thinking skills. I created the cross-curricular Pooch puzzles series in which I collated lots of lists in Excel to create shaped crosswords, Sudokus and word search puzzles. I’ve also created the Numeracy questions series – to help improve numerical skills and The drill questions series that provides material for practicing common mathematical skills.
How do you go about making your resources?
I don’t make resources with a topic, class or exam board in mind at the outset. Mathematics is all around us and very often when I’m working in the garden, shopping, walking around on holiday or doing something totally unrelated to resource creation, an idea enters my head. I play with the idea, design an Excel spreadsheet, draw pictures, start jotting things down and do whatever else is required for me to express the idea in a concrete form.
Which resources are you most proud of?
The first resource I submitted to Tes documented a summer building project, which made use of all the aspects of the SQA General Maths course and became the basis for my Real world maths series.