Secondary maths

22nd July 2011 at 01:00


Triple whammy

Recognise the difference between the three measures of average: mean, median and mode. Using a frequency chart, pupils change the frequences of the numbers one to nine to see the effect.


Problems solved

This is a set of 15 problems suitable for key stage 3 which link to a strand of mathematical processes and applications and to the sub-strands of content.

Mental maths

All in the mind

This set of materials describes teaching approaches that can be used to develop mental maths abilities beyond level 5. They cover number, algebra, geometry and statistics and include activities that target aspects of mental maths which pupils continue to find difficult.


Video favourites

Bivariate data, circles and shot-put problems explored

Craig Barton, maths advanced skills teacher and creator of (TES name: mrbartonmaths), writes: "Alongside my own collection of Autograph videos comes this collection from the Autograph creator himself, Douglas Butler. Sit down with a cup of tea and let Douglas take you through some innovative and interesting uses of Autograph in the classroom. My favourites have to be Reflections, featuring the Red Arrows and the fascinating Exmouth Hexagons."

Other topics include:

- Bivariate data - how to create scatter diagrams using a combination of Excel and Autograph;

- Torus (3D) - what do you get when you rotate the equation of a circle about a line in 3D?

- Shot-put investigation - why the optimal angle for a shot-put to be thrown is not 45 degrees but 31.

Length and area

True or false? Pupils decide

Open-ended challenges for small-group work

The Improving Learning in Mathematics resources (otherwise known as the standards units) have been around for a while - and, like many excellent resources, they are often underused. The materials are challenging, engaging and innovative.

In this resource, students are given a set of eight statements about length and area. They must discuss these and then decide whether each one is always true, sometimes true, or always false.

For example: "If a square and a rectangle have the same perimeter, the square has the smaller area." Tricky.

The statements come with eight hint cards and comprehensive teacher support.

Rich discussion tasks like this lend themselves perfectly to group work. Divide students into groups of four and provide them with a set of cards, scissors, glue and a sheet of coloured A3 paper and challenge them to decide on the validity of each of the statements. They must back up their answers with examples and an explanation on a poster.

Students often find this kind of open-ended challenge difficult, so offer them any two of the hint cards at any stage of the task.

This should encourage them to discuss further within their groups and rely on each other's ideas and thoughts, rather than asking you for help. These resources have been uploaded by Secondary Maths NatStrat.


More fun with thinking skills

Added boost for a new GCSE

Puzzles are vitally important in mathematics, for all ages and abilities. Not only are they a way to engage students, but they also help to develop those all-important problem-solving and thinking skills, which are becoming increasingly important with the introduction of the new GCSE.

Puzzles also present a great opportunity for group work and for giving students the opportunity to explain their method and solution to the rest of the class.

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