Resources of the week

29th August 2014 at 01:00
Each week, three subject teachers recommend a high-quality resource that they have tried and tested in their own classrooms


Lesson starters:Routine skills

What is it? Excel is such a versatile tool. Using the random-number-generator function, resource author gazzacoach has created a series of starter activities that cover a whole range of mathematical topics. Not only do the Excel sheets work out the answers but they can also generate an infinite number of examples.

How can it be used? Improving routine skills is absolutely crucial to students' long-term success in maths. There is no point trying to teach simplifying fractions or solving equations to a class that is not confident with times tables and negative numbers. These quick activities ensure a pacy start to lessons, while helping to develop those basic skills that all of mathematics is built upon.

Craig Barton is an advanced skills teacher at Thornleigh Salesian College in Bolton and a TES secondary maths adviser. Find him on Twitter at @TESMaths


50 things to do before you're 20

What is it? Hundreds of teachers have used ACOYEAR8's resource since it first appeared on the TES website in 2012. It does exactly what it says on the tin: it provides 50 small goals that students can aim to achieve before they turn 20. ACOYEAR8's choices avoid clichs, with goals that include having a deep conversation with an elderly person and listening to the birds singing in the morning. Each suggestion is presented with a powerful image and prompts.

How can it be used? There are probably far more than 50 ways to use this resource. I have asked students to select one slide and prepare a persuasive speech to deliver to the rest of the class; I have used it as a speaking and listening intervention with pupils who need to develop their whole-class debating skills. However you use it, this is a resource that can get the best out of pupils.

Jon Sellick is an English teacher and head of sixth form at Range High School in Formby, Merseyside


Selective-breeding X-Men

What is it? This resource is intended for key stage 3 pupils studying variation and inheritance. Gwright266 introduces selective breeding and variation using X-Men characters. Structured questions and eye-catching images enable students to grasp key concepts and then create their own mutants to demonstrate their knowledge.

How can it be used? Pupils can work in groups, although it may be wise to print off individual copies so that each student has a record of his or her learning. As I discovered with my Year 8 class, the worksheets also lend themselves very well to peer assessment.

Aimee Mckeon is a science teacher at St Andrew's CE High School in Croydon, South London

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