Resources of the week

26th 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


Isometric gnome homes

What is it? This activity, developed by fenners13, challenges students to construct eight different houses for imaginary gnomes to live in, using five multi-link cubes. The next step is to draw the designs on isometric paper and calculate the cost of each home using a simple formula based on the number of storeys.

How can it be used? This gives students the chance to practise their 3D-sketching skills and mental arithmetic but also offers up the potential for a much wider-reaching investigation. My Year 7 class (aged 11-12) wanted to take things further by increasing the number of cubes and by working out the most and least expensive designs to build. By the end of the lesson we were building whole villages for gnomes - the children were having a great time and learning plenty of maths along the way.

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


Super, splendid, scintillating sentences

What is it? Uploaded by dillsage, this game for two players challenges key stage 2 pupils to change boring sentences into exciting ones with the help of pre-written starter sentences and vocabulary, connectives, openers and punctuation (VCOP) cards.

How can it be used? It can act as a prompt for extended writing tasks, be used to enhance speaking and listening skills, and promote independent learning strategies. I recently visited a primary school where an enlarged version of this game had been used to form an interactive wall display. Inspired, I brought the idea back to my own school and had a few copies of the game made for our library. KS3 pupils can now play it during library-based literacy lessons. You could also adapt this versatile resource to model VCOP sentence structures in front of a whole class - primary or secondary.

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


Cells, disease and microscopy worksheets

What is it? This resource, shared by Patrick Stephenson, is aimed at key stage 5 students who are studying biology and disease. It consists of five worksheets, all including a list of keywords, a gap-fill activity, summary questions and exam questions from past papers. Although designed with the AQA biology syllabus in mind, the sheets can be adapted to suit other exam boards.

How can it be used? The sheets make perfect homework tasks and lend themselves to self- or peer-assessment. The keyword lists can be used to test students' understanding: print and laminate them, then ask pupils to work either individually or in small groups to complete tasks related to the words. You could also ask students to make connections between the keywords, in order to train them for synoptic exam questions.

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

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