Resources that truly motivate

Q

I was interested to see your method of introducing trigonometry explained in TES Teacher (June 14). This is the method I have used successfully for some years and I can vouch for its effectiveness. However, could I ask you to go a little further? Elsewhere in the same issue there is a mention of MathsNet (www.mathsnet.net) the excellent site run by Brian Dye. This has exactly your idea, running visually.

This is a superb site. Staff are short of time for surfing for ideas - can I ask you to spend some time on such sites and to include such ideas in future columns? These illustrations are useful both to staff and students.

Maureen Fenn, Norwich

A

It's good to hear how people have found sites and materials useful. I found a useful site with interesting links, created by Ali, a maths teacher in a London secondary school. In particular I liked his "maths quotes", which would be good to use sometimes as thought provokers as pupils enter the classroom. www.2july.co.uk

Q

I am the maths co-ordinator of a primary school. Parents often ask me what resources are available to help them understand the maths taught in school today. They want to be more up-to-date and better equipped to help their children, and to compare how maths is taught today with when they were at school. They want various resources, not just books, and particularly ones which don't take too long to read. And they want resources that both help parents and are useful and motivating for their children. What can you suggest?

Paul Fletcher, Leeds

A

This is a common question from parents. There are many more resources available than there used to be, in particular those on the internet. But a month spent talking to parents and their children as TES Teacher's Mathagony Aunt at the BBC Tomorrow's World roadshow made it clear to me that many still do not have access to the internet at home.

But parents can be encouraged to use the media to help them with maths, particularly topics they find difficult. Television and video can be great motivators. Videos can explain concepts succinctly, with visual appeal. While on tour I worked with Katie Knapman, who has presented the Channel 4 Maths for Real series. She says the programme has brought maths to life for her.

There are videos available to extend brighter pupils, and parents might find it helpful to put some of that mathematics into context. I suggest a few sites below. I would be interested to hear from colleagues of any interesting video they have used. www.channel4.comlearning Tel: 08701 246444

www.nrich.maths.org.ukmathsfjournalfjul02art2

www.lms.ac.uk

www.dpgraph.com

* As part of the BBC Tomorrow's World Live Lab we have created an online experiment. People of all ages play an online card game that helps them learn their tables, and data on their results goes on to a database. By going to the results page they can carry out comparisons: "Are people over 50 faster at their tables than people under 50?" and so on. For participants' privacy, the site does not collect email addresses. Pupils can carry out a localised experiment, analyse the results and then check with the site's much larger dynamic database. The analysis will evolve over time and we look forward to ideas to make this a really worthwhile tool for teaching an understanding of statistics. We hope eventually to provide a place for pupils to be able to publish their experimental papers.

www.perfect-times.co.uk

Wendy Fortescue-Hubbard is a teacher and game inventor. She has been awarded a three-year fellowship by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) to spread maths to the masses. Email your questions to Mathagony Aunt at teacher@tes.co.ukOr write to TES Teacher, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1W 1BX

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