Surds and indices

Discover our collection of GCSE maths surds and indices lessons, activities, powerpoints and notes. These resources are hand-picked by the Tes Maths Panel for their relevance to the 9-1 specifications - use them for planning, homework and revision.

This page contains the very best resources for teaching sections N6 to N9 from the GCSE maths specification (first examined in 2017), combining structured lessons and engaging activities. Surds and indices are traditionally two of the topics that students find most challenging, but these resource should help provide interesting, varied ways of helping students develop the key skills they need.

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Powers, roots and types of number

Squares and Cubes Maths Problems

Problem solving, puzzle type questions on squares and cubes.
By ballatronic

Square Root Golf. Estimating Roots.

Useful sheet to get students estimating the roots of integers other than perfect squares, through students knowledge of square numbers.Ask students to work in pairs or small groups. Also works well as a lead in to surds at ks4 *Update* the post it idea below works fantastically well, students can then rank the answers in terms of their closeness to the answer to further reinforce working with decimals.
By ceejaypee

Square Numbers / Square Roots

Worksheets with Qs involving square numbers and square roots. Answer to each question corresponds to a letter - spells out name of celebrity. [NB: mistake in code: letter V should be number 21]. Answers - Worksheet A: Tulisa Contostavlos. B: Denzel Washington. C: Justin Timberlake.
By fionajones88

Geometrical Square Rooting

Pupils learn how to estimate square roots of numbers using only a pencil, ruler and a pair of compasses. Originally discovered by Rene Descartes, it is based around Pythagoras' Theorem (a proof is included in the powerpoint). If you like this resource then please check out my other stuff on here! :)
By Owen134866

Laws of indices

Simplifying Indicies Jigsaw

Jigsaw with questions which require pupils to simplify expressions with indicies, multiplication and division included.
By Laura Rees-Hughes

Negative and Fractional Indices Bingo Game

Maths GCSE/ AS level core 1 bingo Game for the revision of Rules/Laws of indices. Bingo Starter or Revision Aid for Higher Level.
By Clea Rodgers

Indices - The Index Laws

Use the cooperative learning strategy ‘jigsaw’ where pupils learn one thing + then teach it to their group. I found that the laws on 'alternative 4th law&' are best left til after 1st 4 are learnt. produced the phone screens. The code breaker + indices ppt were found on TES, but I can&';t find them again; thanks whoever you are! The tarsia was Mr Barton's, I changed it to have 6 mistakes so that pupils can be given soln sheet + circle them. Task 4 –teams given flipchart paper to write the answer in the middle + then writecorresponding questions , teams then rotate ie peer assess.
By jcalderwood

Indices, Index Notation (MEP – GCSE ) activities

The topic of Indices from the GCSE books of the Mathematics Enhancement Program. For information about these resources and an index for the whole collection please visit Keywords: Index, Indices, Law, Rule, Power, Integer, Standard Form, Ten, Positive, Negative, Large, Small, Decimal, Fractional, Scientific, Standard Index Notation, Factor, Multiple, Common, Prime, Lowest, Highest, HCF, LCM, Square, Cube, Root.

Standard form

KS3 Indices & Standard Form (MEP– Year 9 – Unit 3)

worksheets, activities and lesson plans. The topic of Indices and Standard Form from the Year 9 book of the Mathematics Enhancement Program. For information about these resources and an index for the whole collection please visit Keywords: Index, Indices, Law, Rule, Power, Integer, Standard Form, Ten, Positive, Negative, Large, Small, Decimal, Fractional, Scientific, Standard Index Notation.

GCSE Standard form test

A little test covering GCSE standard form, could be used as a homework or revision.
By bcooper87

Intro to Standard Form

These slides form an introduction to the topic of standard form, explaining why it is used. It demonstrates the skill of converting normal numbers into standard form and vice versa (for large and small numbers). Slides 29-31 are the worksheets, which you can add to. Make sure your audio is switched on, as sound is embedded in some of the slides. If you use this resource, please rate/comment/favourite as appropriate. All comments to improve are welcome! Dave
By davewilson

GCSE Standard form - solar system - Activity

This GCSE activity gets pupils to use standard form (multiplying, dividing, converting from ordinary numbers) to find the mass and distance from the sun of each of the planets in our solar system.
By tj2807

Simplifying surds


Carousel of discovery learning around the rules of surds. Used as an introductory lesson with high abiilty groups. PLEASE leave feedback so I can improve for next time.
By leannegadsby

Tarsia - Simplifying Surds

Tarsia are a fantastic revision and consolidation tool and great fun. You will need the Tarsia jigsaw puzzle maker to edit, view or print them and if you do just go to the link. These tarsia cover simplifying Surds. Enjoy :-)
By chuckieirish

SURDS worksheets

Just press F9 to update the sheets and change the values. Knocked up fairly quickly but used well with my GCSE group. Can be used on an IWB. Select and use print selection option to print worksheets. Please leave any feedback so that I can improve these.

By bench9

Proof that √2 is Irrational

This power point provides you with a guide as to how we know v2 is irrational. Works well for KS4 and KS5 students as I find that many of them are not content with just being told that surds are non-recurring, non-terminating. You will need to present this to students - they're unlikely to follow it by themselves.
By DaveGale

Operations with surds


This is a 20 page powerpoint which really went down well when I taught my student this. Have a look!
By Jsouassou


This video looks over how to simplify and multiply surds. Can be used by GCSE student's who are revising A*/A grade topics as well as C1 AS level maths students.
By hali99

GSCE Maths: Manipulating surds lesson plan

Activities to enable learners of secondary mathematics to identify equivalent surds and develop their ability to simplify expressions involving surds.
By SecondaryMathsNatStrats

GCSE Revision Booklet - Surds

GCSE revision questions involving the manipulation of surds including use of the basic rules, multplying double brackets with surds and subsitiution with surds.
By a51_ufo

Rationalising the denominator

Rationalising denominator video

This video shows how to rationalise the denominator on simple questions and has some practice questions to go with. For more videos on other topics see or the YouTube link below.
By Wwright1

Surds - Rationalising the denominator

Lesson on surds focussing on rationalising the denominator.

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- Schemes of work designed for the new GCSE Maths specification (3 and 2 year courses available for both Foundation and Higher tiers)

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By We Teach - FREE Trial

Surds Key Facts Placemat

This is intended to be printed out (possibly A3 size) and put on students' tables so that they can refer to them when they're working through surds work. The publisher file is in case you'd like to edit it yourself.
By DaveGale