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Magic tricks and a catwalk puzzle

Fun activities to kick off the year

TES maths adviser Craig Barton has assembled a collection of maths resources specifically for the start of term. They have been put together with the aim of setting the right tone for the year, and to show pupils that maths can be enjoyable and challenging.

The "collective memory - money" activity is great to encourage your new class to work as a team in order to recreate the money poster provided. Meanwhile, the1000thtime has shared a resource that will promote teamwork in the classroom and may prove particularly popular with girls. The Amelie Fashion Mystery Game challenges students to solve the puzzle of whether Amelie makes it to the catwalk. Pupils are presented with a set of cards containing clues which they will need to use various strands of maths to solve. This resource will test thinking and mathematical process skills and is suitable for key stage 4 students.

Maths126 has shared a fantastic "MatheMagic" manual containing 25 tricks for teachers. The tricks and puzzles have been designed with KS3 pupils in mind, but would also appeal to older pupils. The activities cover a variety of maths topics and could be used as lesson starters to warm up pupils' mathematical thinking.

Not_Just_Sums and Number1 have shared links to activities that can be used as lesson starters throughout the year.


Social sense

In the aftermath of the scenes of looting throughout England, schools may be looking to reinforce pupils' sense of social responsibility. Packtypes is a tool that aims to develop the social and emotional intelligence of students and staff. It is already in use in 1,000 schools.

Life and work

The NCFE, the body that works with colleges and schools to prepare students for life and work, has new learning resources. Packs are available for its Learning to Learn and Enterprise Skills awards.

Human writes

A network that supports the work of Human Rights Watch is running a competition called Right Words, which aims to encourage pupils aged 14-16 to write about human rights. This year's theme is freedom of expression. For more details email:


Post-16 biology

From evolution to genetic engineering

TES science adviser Richard Spencer has selected these resources, which include a range of materials for teaching AS and A-level biology.

For teaching evolution, bogstandardcomp has shared a link to a collection of videos that your pupils will find useful. There are seven videos to help students grasp the theory.

Meanwhile, hmckeating has shared a PowerPoint presentation on the structure of the heart, including diagrams to support information on how the heart operates. There is also a Flash animation of the cardiac cycle.

Other materials include a genetic engineering glossary (KatyJo), a stem-cell research poster (medhelp) and an ecology terminology card game (Duncan Rhodes).


On the dangers of gang membership

Videos and discussion explore the risks

This collection of resources contains videos from TrueTube featuring real-life experiences of young people's involvement with gangs. The videos can be used as part of PSHE lessons to teach pupils about the consequences of taking part in gang culture and develop discussion on the topic.

The teenagers featured in the videos give accounts of their experiences of being involved in gangs, while youth worker Shaun Bailey explains some of the dangers of being associated with gang culture, including the risk of receiving a jail sentence or ending up with mental health problems, and argues that the way to solve these problems lies with communities and families rather than stricter laws.

Jason Allen has a similar opinion after his experience of being in a gang resulted in him getting into trouble with the police, which had a highly detrimental effect on his relationship with his family.

Letarnia, on the other hand, is a 20 year-old youth worker who believes the media blows things out of proportion and that being part of a gang can be a positive experience in some ways.

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