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Subject Genius Blog: Mathematics
Is learning the times tables by rote really helpful?
Recently I was watching a TV advert in which the cost of a product was £323.99. This prompted a thought from me which, I am sure, is not...
29th May 2017 at 13:01
How to exploit opportunities to embed maths revision across the curriculum
I was frequently, in my modern language capacity, saying to both senior leadership and primary teachers, that there is only so much that...
18th May 2017 at 13:01
Easy and effective ways to incorporate literacy in maths lessons
We are all responsible for “promoting high standards of literacy, articulacy and the correct use of standard English”* and when the...
6th April 2017 at 15:02
Are the key stage 2 Sats educationally or politically motivated?
I am interested in this because of my background as a secondary maths teacher now volunteering in my local primary school. There are three...
27th January 2017 at 15:53
Fair or not fair
In the M series of QI, one programme was about maths. One interesting fact that came up in the programme was about what happened when you...
21st November 2016 at 15:02
11 ways to light up your maths lessons for Bonfire Night
The leaves have changed colour, the weather is chilly and jumpers are out in full force. And Bonfire Night is upon us! While Guy Fawkes and...
3rd November 2016 at 11:39
Multiplication is area
In 2014, the Government released a video called “The school revolution” in which, among other things, they took you through changes in the...
26th September 2016 at 18:10
Understanding is not the problem
In Carraher (1985) the authors write about a series of case studies where young children selling products on the streets were able to...
13th September 2016 at 18:19
The magic of 1001
I’ve been doing a little fun starter with small Year 5 groups recently. I ask them to write down the number 91 then put the same single...
10th August 2016 at 18:29
Why children often struggle with maths in school: part 4
"Children possess a far greater capacity for mathematics than has been granted them hitherto. As soon as a favourable pedagogical climate...
21st July 2016 at 17:26
How ‘everyone can’ succeed at maths
I remember my initial meeting with my first head of department. He had been head of subject for quite a few years and I felt I could learn...
6th July 2016 at 11:39
Why children often struggle with maths in school: part 3
Reason 3: “We ignore this learning style at our peril” “I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand.” Chinese Proverb...
7th June 2016 at 16:34
Why children often struggle with maths in school: part 2
Reason 2: “Too formal too soon.” " The new developmental research shows that this historical consensus about children was just plain wrong...
24th May 2016 at 15:55
Why children often struggle with maths in school
REASON 1: "The most important learning state is often absent." "The teacher pretended that algebra was a perfectly natural affair, to be...
10th May 2016 at 18:34
Using scientific calculators in primary school
When I started volunteering in my local primary school in 2002, one thing I missed almost immediately was a set of scientific calculators...
31st March 2016 at 15:01
How do we create investigations that challenge, but remain accessible for all students?
Explaning, generalising, exploring, noticing links and patterns, discussing; These are the things I want my students to be doing in their...
9th March 2016 at 15:01
Use of alphabet codes to help understand equivalent fractions
I have been using alphabet codes - A=1 to Z=26 - probably for over 45 years. It allows you, for example, to use different levels of...
19th February 2016 at 15:17
Who needs multiplying?
Recently I spent a day with some close friends and their family and partners. The family is quite competitive, but even I didn’t expect to...
4th February 2016 at 15:22
Understanding algebraic rules can help arithmetic
Just recently I was trying to help a small group of primary students with their knowledge of tables. They were at the stage of having...
28th January 2016 at 15:01
We need to talk about mathematics
In my early years of teaching a colleague had a nice easy mantra, that you needed to have a class quiet before you could teach them...
22nd December 2015 at 15:01
The Mathematics and Language of Politics
When people suggest that all students should be studying mathematics and English up to the age of 18, I always wonder what sort of maths...
21st December 2015 at 15:00
Maths in Cambodia
In October, my colleague, Erica, and I were invited to visit Cambodia. The project was organised by the British Embassy as part of their...
15th December 2015 at 15:30
Grid multiplying v “formal methods”
A)If you had to multiply 13 × 5 in your head, which of these two methods would you use? I can separate 13 into 10 and 3, so 10 × 5 = 50, 3...
19th November 2015 at 16:48
Classroom rule number one - never answer a question
‘Use what you have’ is a wise maxim that can be applied to so many situations, and I always try to bring to any problem more than my own...
11th November 2015 at 15:01
Perfect numbers can be fun for bright primary mathematicians
As a retired comprehensive school maths teacher now volunteering in my local primary school, one thing I am asked to do is to provide some...
28th October 2015 at 12:25
Maths teachers - a growing shortage. Is it a sign of things to come?
In the ten years I have been a maths teacher I can think of only one where my department has not had to fill a vacancy. There are...
14th October 2015 at 17:20
Lesson planning for the uninitiated – why time invested up-front pays off in the long run.
If you are teaching in FE there’s a good chance that you are new to what you’ve been asked to teach. The sector is notorious for...
28th September 2015 at 17:07
How to help every child understand ratio – method 2
In this post I shared the box method for solving ratio problems. The second method I hinted at is the bar model . Although not a new tool,...
25th September 2015 at 17:40
The Return of the Venn Diagram
November 1 st , 2013. It’s one of those “do you remember where you were?” moments. This time, however, it is not Super Saturday at the 2012...
11th September 2015 at 16:01
Why I teach the identity symbol
Two years ago I had a decision to make. Should I teach kids the identity symbol? I discussed it with my head of department, who wasn't...
4th September 2015 at 13:13
What makes a good maths scheme of work?
In June 2013, my Head of Department, another member of our team and I, sat down to write a brand-new maths scheme of work. I documented...
3rd September 2015 at 13:37
A History of Maths
Doesn't it feel like mathematics was created and done the day before you were born? The school curriculum only covers the facts, concepts...
20th August 2015 at 13:44
How to help every child understand ratio
Dividing a quantity unevenly is an abstract idea that most children struggle with. As the problems become more complex, people struggle all...
7th July 2015 at 14:02
The art of teaching anti-functional maths
Here is a scene that has played out many times in my classroom over the years, with students of various ages: Ellie: “Mr Barton, when will...
6th July 2015 at 12:36