Resources of the week

3rd April 2015 at 01:00
Three subject teachers recommend a high-quality resource, available on the TES website, that they have tried and tested in their own classrooms


Algebra boxes

What is it? If you've never played the classic pencil-and-paper game Boxes (sometimes called Dots and Boxes), some would say you've not lived. The original game involves capturing boxes by joining dots in horizontal and vertical lines. This resource gives it a makeover so that it becomes the perfect tool for teaching algebraic substitution. The aim is still to "capture" boxes, but in order to work out the value of the squares they win, students need to use their simplifying and substitution skills.

How can it be used? This resource from stroevey is ideal for consolidating understanding of simplifying algebraic expression or substituting into a formula. The game focuses on four variables, each with positive values. But you can always increase the challenge by adding a w2 or x - 3y into the mix, or changing the values of some of the variables to negatives. Creating several versions of the board will allow for quick and simple differentiation.

Find it here: bit.lyAlgebraBoxes

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


An introduction to debating

What is it? Daniel Ingman breaks away from the common bolt-on approach to debating with this comprehensive scheme. Here, teachers are encouraged to spend time - potentially half a term - building pupils' debating skills. The advantages of introducing this at key stage 3 are obvious. How often do you find yourself urging older pupils to involve themselves in classroom discussion? This resource will enable them to do just that.

How can it be used? This scheme is perfect for formalising the concept of a debate. It defines key terms such as motions and arguments and offers engaging examples. It also provides the tools for pupils to develop their own convincing arguments. The presentations are attractive and thoughtfully produced and the stimuli cover a variety of topics, ensuring that pupils concentrate on the desired skills rather than the content. The presentations are also punctuated with interesting contextual information.

Find it here: bit.lyDebatingIntroduction

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


Making fruit batteries

What is it? This week's science resource, designed by MerryG, is aimed at key stage 3 pupils who are studying electricity and batteries. The PowerPoint instructions show students how to create their own batteries from a piece of fruit, such as a lemon, and encourage them to investigate whether an LED bulb can be lit from the resulting circuit.

How can it be used? This resource is great as a stand-alone lesson, but it can also be used for a practical experiment within a unit. I certainly managed to achieve the "light-bulb" moment that all science teachers dream about when I completed this activity with my Year 8 class.

Find it here: bit.lyMakingBatteries

Aimee Mckeon is head of key stage 3 science at Shirley High School in Croydon, South London

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