Archive for February, 2010

Winter Olympics – curling with maths!

February 26, 2010 Leave a comment

With Olympic events still in mind, you’ll have some fun with the interactive activity we invented for Level Up Maths! It’s an activity around Levels 5 and 6 for algebra.

The scenario is that you’re a contestant in the curling event, which somehow has turned into turtle-sliding! The line the turtle takes to the target is shown on coordinate axes and you have to work out the equation of the line. The software keeps your score through the rounds, so you can see whether you’ve medalled!

Here it is!

 [Teacher notes – who need’s em!]


Completing the triple – AQA GCSE Maths Higher and Foundation sets textbooks published!

February 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Through dungeon, fire and sword (actually through the Channel Tunnel on a lorry from the printers in Italy) our Foundation sets and Higher sets student books have now arrived to join the Middle book.

  • Foundation sets covers Grades G to C
  • Middle sets covers Grades E to B
  • Higher sets covers Grades D to A*

Higher sets Student Book

Each is a full GCSE course in a single volume. This also makes them ideal for teaching AQA’s new (draft)  Linear specification.

Packed with support for the new Assessment Objectives and Functional elements within GCSE maths, we’re attracting a huge amount of attention in AQA centres. Check out some samples or even better, order our free Evaluation Pack and/or inspection copies of the Foundation and Higher Student Books.

Update from QCDA on Functional Skills

February 25, 2010 Leave a comment

QCDA has just updated its Functional Skills site for the first time since early November, and here’s the gist below. Still no further word though on its previously heralded Functional Skills Conference due for March 9th in London, but maybe we only dreamt it? Maybe it’s a Fictional Functional Skills Conference? Get in touch if you know better.

Free guide to functional skills – out today in SecEd

Included with 25th February edition of SecEd is a QCDA-sponsored supplement on functional skills and their position within the four qualification pathways for 14-19 year-olds – Apprenticeships, Diplomas, GCSEs and Foundation Learning. This free booklet guides readers through the need-to-know areas of functional skills, including case studies, interviews and practical advice. To get hold of your copy, look inside the SecEd, which is sent to every school, or visit

Functional skills in action – four new films launched

We’ve launching four short films on functional skills . These films look at some of the ways that pilot centres have been approaching delivery of functional skills within the 14-19 qualification pathways – GCSEs, Diploma, Apprenticeships and Foundation Learning. The films have been launched on the SecEd website, to coincide with the QCDA-sponsored functional skills supplement.

Factsheet on transition arrangements now available

We’ve now produced a factsheet on the transition arrangements for functional skills. The factsheet covers everything you should need to know about the transition from the pilot, to the national implementation.

First exam dates for new GCSE specification now available

February 23, 2010 Leave a comment

The first batch of exam dates for AQA’s new GCSE Maths Specification 4360 is now available:

  • Tuesday 9th Nov for Unit 1  Higher and Foundation
  • Friday 12th Nov for Unit 2  Higher and Foundation
  • Monday 7th March for Unit 1  Higher and Foundation
  • Wednesday 9th March for Unit 2  Higher and Foundation

You can doublecheck this with the interactive exams timetable at . This site is useful for creating a personal exams timetable for printing and downloading.

Keep an eye on the AQA website for details too.

Downloadable, customisable exam timetable

Zen and the Art of AO3: A transcendental explanation of the new AQA GCSE Maths Assessment Objectives…

February 23, 2010 Leave a comment

We know some teachers have been struggling to understand what the new AO2 and AO3 Assessment Objectives are all about…  We struggled to start with. 

But after publishing two student books, consulting endlessly with the examiners, and writing umpteen practice questions on AO2 and AO3, we think we’ve sussed them.  Which makes this about the right moment to share this knowledge…

One of our authors happens to double as a Zen master and explains AO2 and AO3 in this short video in the only way he knows how.  It’s tongue-in-cheek, of course, but we hope teachers find it genuinely helpful:

AQA Functional Maths spec in draft

February 19, 2010 Leave a comment

AQA have released a draft of their Functional Skills qualification in Mathematics Level 1 and Level 2. Check it out here. For first teaching September this year, the accredited specification is due in March.

For those of you who’ve been following the AQA Functional Maths Pilot, there’s a change in the assessment model: no competency paper. At each of Level 1 and Level 2 there will be only one question paper, assessing content and process skills in contexts.

The contexts may be ‘everyday’ or they may be ‘unfamiliar’. There will be 3 to 5 questions per paper – all compulsory.

Both Levels have pre-release material that is available 4 weeks before the exam.

You’ll find more details on both the qualification, and the resources we are preparing for it, on this blogsite – just click here to see our Functional Maths page.

Longman's new product for functional maths

We’re keeping ourselves very busy preparing AQA Functional Mathematics support materials: student book, teacher guide and ActiveTeach CD-ROM. Check out our sample material then sign up for a free evaluation pack!

Definitions of terms commonly used in maths teaching

February 18, 2010 Leave a comment

This made us laugh, courtesy of

Maths terms commonly used in teaching, with their more accurate meanings…

CLEARLY: I don’t want to write down all the in-between steps.

TRIVIAL: If I have to show you how to do this, you’re in the wrong class.

OBVIOUSLY: I hope you weren’t sleeping when we discussed this earlier, because I refuse to repeat it.

RECALL: I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but for those of you who erase your memory tapes after every test, here it is again.

IT IS WELL KNOWN: See “Mathematische Zeitschrift”, vol XXXVI, 1892.

CHECK FOR YOURSELF: This is the boring part of the proof, so you can do it on your own time.

SKETCH OF A PROOF: I couldn’t verify the details, so I’ll break it down into parts I couldn’t prove.

HINT: The hardest of several possible ways to do a proof.

ELEGANT PROOF: Requires no previous knowledge of the subject, and is less than ten lines long.

SIMILARLY: At least one line of the proof of this case is the same as before.

PROOF OMITTED: Trust me, it’s true.

THE FOLLOWING ARE EQUIVALENT: If I say this it means that, and if I say that it means the other thing, and if I say the other thing…

BY A PREVIOUS THEOREM: I don’t remember how it goes (come to think of it, I’m not really sure we did this at all), but if I stated it right, then the rest of this follows.

TWO LINE PROOF: I’ll leave out everything but the conclusion.

BRIEFLY: I’m running out of time, so I’ll just write and talk faster.

LET’S TALK THROUGH IT: I don’t want to write it on the board because I’ll make a mistake.

PROCEED FORMALLY: Manipulate symbols by the rules without any hint of their true meaning.

QUANTIFY: I can’t find anything wrong with your proof except that it won’t work if x is 0.