An Olympic maths team

Ian Wilson

Putting together a collection of material for using ICT in maths is rather like choosing an Olympic squad. You have many talents competing for inclusion and many armchair critics who will question your wisdom or even your parentage if you leave out their favourites. So how do you get a balanced team which offers strength in depth?

In the primary sector, there are now many programs which reinforce the teaching content of the numeracy strategy. RM has a strong offering with its RM Primary Maths, with a good system for monitoring pupil progress. Longman's Tomorrow's Promise is similar in its breadth and approach, but the management system is less flexible. Anglia Multimedia (now part of Granada) has recently completed its Primary Numeracy series with material for years 1 to 6, supported with useful activity sheets.

Also of note is Granada's 10 minute fraction tasks for key stage 2, based on an ancient Greek theme, with six activities on three levels. Activities include javelin throwing and making jewellery, and there are worksheets to print out for use in class or at home. Granada also provides some numeracy activities on its Internet subscription service, www.primary-zone.com. Developing Number from the Association of Teachers of Mathematics (ATM) is also useful and contains three programs which explore the foundations of number skills.

At secondary level, it is essential to have a versatile dynamic geometry program. Cabri-Geometre II provides a means of exploring geometrical concepts including Euclidean and transformational geometry, and comes with an excellent selection of tools. Autograph is a wonderful program for plotting graphs and for exploring statistical data, and also allows students to explore aspects of geometry. The program comes with a generous selection of resources such as screen tutorials to help you understand how to use the program effectively. In the same area, Smile has a useful program, Graphing, which helps to introduce students to the basic ideas of linear graphs and inequalities. Co-ordinates and Mathematical Puzzles are also must-haves from Smile for the secondary classroom.

Looking ahead a little, there are some interesting developments by RM which will deserve a closer look - the imminent publication of Maths Quest, for key stage 3 and 4, and Maths Alive (produced from a government software pilot), initially for year 7. Maths Quest is a complete curriculum delivery and assessment system which has been adapted from a US product. Look for a more detailed review later this year of how they compare with the strong competition from Headstart, currently the best integrated learning system available.

For sources of ideas on the Web, both MathsNet and the NRich website are excellent for both teachers and pupils. They contain teaching ideas, puzzles, games and good lists of links to other maths sites. I also like the Maths Online site which has probability simulations, developed in partnership with the Royal Statistical Society, as well as interactive spreadsheets and LOGO activities.

Ian Wilson is headteacher of Rydens School, Walton-on-Thames

Top 10 software

RM Maths Price: pound;495 per single user licence Tel: 01235 826000

www.rm.comTomorrow's Promise from Longman LogotronTel: 0800 579 579

www.logotron.co.uklevel2order.htmlHeadstart GCSE Maths Price: pound;150 per workstation or pound;5,550 site licence. Tel: 01978 810000 www.headstartsoftware.co.uk

Developing Number from ATM Price: pound;49.95 single user; pound;145 site licence www.atm.org.uk

Autograph from Chartwell-Yorke Price: pound;50 for single-user, site licence pound;400

Cabri-Geometre II (also from Chartwell-Yorke)Price: Single user pound;89 Site licence pound;349 Tel: 01204 811001 www.chartwellyorke.com

Ten Minute Fraction Tasks from Granada Learning Price: pound;49 Tel: 0161 827 2927 www.granada-learning.com

Graphing Price: pound;40 single user, site licence pound;80 - pound;160Co ordinates Price: pound;33 single user, site licence pound;66 to pound;132

Mathematical Puzzles Price: pound;49.50 single user, site licence pound;99 to pound;198

All above from Smile Tel: 020 7598 4841http:smilemathematics.co.uk

Top 10 websites

MathsNet: www.mathsnet.net

Maths Lessons: www.mathslessons.co.uk

Count Me In: www.bbc.co.ukeducationcountmein

Maze Works: www.mazeworks.co.uk

Numeracy Resources: www.numeracyresources.co.uk

Nrich: www.nrich.maths.org.uk

Association of Teachers of Maths: www.atm.org.uk

Mathematical Association: www.m-a.org.uk

Maths Zone: www.4learning.co.ukmathszone

Maths Online: www.mathsonline.co.uk

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