Initiatives that add up

17th March 2000 at 00:00
Ian Wilson previews some interesting secondary materials.

Secondary maths teachers may understandably feel that publishers have been concentrating on the primary numeracy strategy. Despite this, there is a great deal of new and exciting material at the Education Show for secondary teachers to discover.

Integrated learning systems can help to improve students' motivation and achievements, and several will be on display. Advantage Learning Systems is launching Accelerated Maths, which includes standard aspects of monitoring students' progress. It will print individualised mock assignments and tests and mark them as well.

One of the most interesting stands will be that of Plato Education, which will be showing its Learning System. The system's modular approach means that schools can tailor courses. As well as covering the national curriculum, the modules could be used in GNVQ courses and key skills work at the post-16 level.

A useful addition to the material is the Math Problem Solving course which encourages learners to apply mathematical concepts to complex problems in real-life settings. An intelligent tutoring function can be used to support the users with a customised level of help. The settings include optimising greenhouse conditions for growing flowers and analysing car emissions to guide environmental policy.

Another intriguing approach to problem solving can be found at Folens, with its publications Revolting Arithmetic, a series linking problem solving to historical topics.

Other publishers with new courses include Longman (Success in Maths) and Oxford University Press, which promises new resources for the key stage 3 numeracy initiatives. Bothpublishers will also have new material for the revised ASA-level specifications.

There are two exhibitors whose stands should be visited by every maths teacher. Tarquin Publications has a well-deserved reputation for producing excellent materials to stimulate students at every level. New resources to look out for include posters on Fermat's Last Theorem and spirals and helices. Work on aspects of numeracy could be enhanced by two Tarquin books. The Number File is a collection of numbers with interesting properties and The Number Detective is a puzzle book in which numbers have to be identified by solving a series of cryptic clues.

Claire Publications is also well known for producing interesting materials. Although much of this is aimed at the primary level, they have many books and other resources which would make valuable additions to secondary maths stock cupboards.

Granada Learning has brought out additions to its range of software titles over the past year and several are suitable for use with lower ability secondary students. Similarly, the Number Shark program from White Space, which includes 30 games promoting conceptual understanding of number operations, could be useful for such students. ACTIS, which has been responsible for many innovations on the Internet, will be promoting its new maths online site (


ACTIS stand IT126

Advantage Learning Systems stand IT69

Association of Teachers of Maths stand AV33

Claire Publications stand PV141

Granada Learning stand IT65

Longman stand PV10

Mathematical Association stand AV28

Plato Education stand IT96

White Space stand SN8

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