Resources of the week

12th September 2014 at 01:00
Each week, three subject teachers recommend a high-quality resource that they have tried and tested in their own classrooms


Calculator story

What is it? This resource, uploaded by frickard, is based around an engaging story. Students must correctly type a series of tricky calculations into their calculators in order to make sense of what is going on. The lesson is an opportunity for pupils to practise fundamental skills that can otherwise be rather dull to teach and reinforce, such as being able to enter fractions and powers correctly.

How can it be used? When students don't know how to use their calculators properly, the results can be disastrous. There are always children who forget their calculators in lessons, then turn up to an exam proudly displaying a shiny new one that they have no idea how to use. This resource will help to train students well before they have to sit exams. My Year 7 class adored this activity, which even led to an interesting discussion about what the funny "!" symbol did.

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


Unseen poetry: comparisons

What is it? Although jamestickle86's resource on the tricky topic of comparing unseen poetry was made with the WJEC exam board's English literature GCSE in mind, it works well for teaching practical criticism more generally. Using his knowledge of past papers, jamestickle86 provides copies of the relevant poems, alongside suggested areas of focus and comparison tables that cover all the exam criteria.

How can it be used? I printed the sheets on A3 paper and found that although the comparison tables covered all the necessities, the spaces dedicated to differences and similarities still gave pupils room to expand on their initial ideas. I envisage using this resource in tandem with a solo taxonomy "thinking square", so that students can display a cohesive thought process. When blown up to A3 - or larger if you're feeling adventurous - the comparison table would make a very handy visual for a classroom wall.

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


Three types of microbe

What is it? This resource, uploaded by pand, is aimed at students studying microbes and disease. It consists of three PowerPoint presentations, complete with eye-catching images, labelled diagrams and interesting facts about different types of microbe. Did you know that the largest known living organism on Earth is a 3.5 mile-wide fungus?

How can it be used? The slides can be printed in colour and stuck around the classroom. Students move around the room in small groups, reading the relevant information and filling in the summary sheet. My Year 8 class enjoyed working together and the more able children used the extension sheets to further their understanding.

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

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