TES Maths ROTW: GCSE starter spreadsheet

Craig Barton
04th January 2016

TES Maths Resource of the Week

Every fourth Resource of the Week will highlight a top quality premium resource published on TES by a teacher.

Resource title:  Starter spreadsheet £2

Resource author: Maths_Shed

What is it?

For this premium Resource of the Week, I have splashed out £2 of my own money to snap up one of the best starter resources I have ever seen. What makes this resource stand out above other similar resources is the sheer coverage of the curriculum. Pretty much every GCSE topic you could imagine is here, including Pythagoras, inequalities, standard form and many other classics.

These can be filtered to a specific grade level, topic area, calculator/non-calculator, etc. The author even has a handy video guide of how to use each aspect of this resource.

How can it be used?

The author explains that this resource is ideal to project on the board at the start of the lesson to enable you to salvage those precious 10 minutes to get the register done, worksheets sorted, taking a breath etc. and I would agree. It allows for a focused, prompt start to the lesson.

Furthermore, the ability to filter the content means that this resource can be used with any class at any stage of the year. If answers were automatically generated, I would pay triple figures, but as things stand, this was certainly £2 well spent.


Craig Barton

Craig is a secondary maths teacher in the North of England.


A word from the author, Maths_Shed

After reading about the Forgetting Curve, I decided to ensure pupils reviewed recent work regularly as starter questions. Over the last few years I have written a number of spreadsheets that randomly generate questions on a single topic, but I soon realised I wanted the option of asking any question covered at GCSE level. So, I picked up a copy of the scheme of work I was working from and started working out ways to randomly generate questions.

How do I use it? I have a copy of the spreadsheet for each class I teach, which ensures that I give them the correct set of questions. As I teach a new topic I add the topic to the set of questions by switching the question on. My lessons now have an extended starter where pupils practise a question on every topic they have learned in the preceding few weeks. 

The learning part of the lesson has stayed at a normal length, but the practice in the lesson is shortened in the knowledge that they will be doing this topic every lesson for the next few weeks. The repetition of the starter has increased the confidence of many pupils and they settle quickly in the knowledge that they have a set of questions which they have recently learned and practised.


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