Archive for May, 2010

The World Saucer

May 27, 2010 Leave a comment

You don’t have to be against the World Cup to appreciate that there’s something missing from the concept – the World Saucer!

And there’s plenty of maths in saucers… Here’s an investigation from the nrich site – the teacup challenge:

NRICH is part of the family of activities in the Millennium Mathematics Project, which also includes the Plus and Motivate sites.


AQA GCSE Maths Schemes of Work – Free!

May 27, 2010 2 comments

When you’ve got a moment to start planning your two-year course for the new AQA GCSE specifications (modular and linear), we have just the thing to help you!

Now free to download from our website are:

  • 2-year  modular SoW starting with Unit 1
  • 2-year  modular SoW starting with Unit 2
  • 2-year linear SoW

for each of Longman’s AQA GCSE Mathematics 2010  resources: for Higher sets, Middle sets and Foundation sets. By ‘Middle sets’ we mean around grades E to B, aiming for a secure grade C at the end of the course.

Can’t think why you’d ever start with Unit 2?  See our previous post on the subject…

Chelsea style in AQA GCSE Maths – Free functional maths activity!

May 26, 2010 Leave a comment

The BBC, as usual, have great coverage of the Chelsea Flower Show (which is, again as usual, a sell-out event). Arguably the Tatton Flower Show (21 to 25 July this year) is better because it’s more accessible (code for ‘not in London’).

For the budding gardeners among your students, our AQA GCSE Mathematics for Middle Sets Student Book includes this Roof garden activity that will tick some boxes with functional maths.

Roof garden functional maths

Click here  to get a PDF of the two-page spread.

Here are the Teacher Notes to go with it. And the answers!

If you’re already familiar with the AQA Functional Maths spec, this is mostly Level 2: area, perimeter and volume; it needs Level 1 ability to construct geometric diagrams and models. Dig in!

Tracking feature tracking quite nicely, response-wise

May 25, 2010 2 comments

Walkthrough of our new tracking feature, with Irish accent

Long time visitors to the blog might recall the occasional self-congratulatory reference to the new tracking feature on our forthcoming ActiveTeach software. What the hey, we think it’s pretty nifty.

ActiveTeach puts the textbook up onscreen for whole class teaching. The new tracking feature enables the teacher to gather information on the class response to every single activity or exercise, with, oh, about 5 seconds total effort per lesson. A tracking screen then shows topic status, traffic-light-style, and it’s dead easy to see what needs attention. Or indeed, simply what topics you’ve covered. In a future world, this information would then be beamed direct to your brain, but that’s Phase 2 territory for now.

Most importantly, teachers we’ve shown it to, “get it” instantly. The response has been so positive, we consider the tracking feature now worthy of the ultimate accolade: a screencapture walkthrough that explains what we’re actually talking about.

CIOLUKWYK (Check it out, let us know what you think).

World Cup maths: the route to the Final!

You may have been wondering how England are going to reach the World Cup Final?

Well, here’s a chance for you and your students to solve that problem, literally.  Click below for some nifty functional maths questions, and you can help Wayne Rooney navigate his way across South Africa:

Help Wayne and Coleen find their way to Cape Town. Click to download pdf.

Quick tip: this activity is ideal for display on a whiteboard.  Once you’ve downloaded the pdf, press Control+L for full screen display.

Looking for other Functional teaching resources?

Click here to see our free World Cup wall chartKeep your Maths classroom up-to-date with events in South Africa!

We’ve also blogged these recently: Countdown to the World Cup (fractions), Wind power (formulae, Level 2) Election Maths (handling data, percentages), Volcano Maths (probability; distance-speed-time),  Maths in the Roof Garden (volume, area, perimeter – Level 1), Of Rock Festivals and Number Skills (interpreting data, number skills – Level 1).

In praise of problem-solving: Dan Meyer speaks

Here’s a fascinating video clip we found on the TED site…  Dan Meyer is a Maths teacher in the US and gives a passionate defence of problem-solving as the way to teach:

Dan Meyer - TED talk - click to play

Problem-solving , alongside functional maths, is exactly what the new Maths specifications in the UK are all about.  Click here for more info about AO2 and AO3

Oh, and here’s a short, tongue-in-cheek video that we made, explaining problem-solving: Zen and the Art of AO3

A-A* Practice Book: free sample chapters


Some rivers are easier to cross than others... Sample question on the Millau Suspension Bridge from A-A* book. Click to enlarge.

We published our A-A* Practice Book last week. It’s the only book in the market we can find, which targets top grade candidates and future A-Level stars.  And it’s our answer to anyone who says Maths GCSE is being dumbed down.  The book is full of engaging, colourful questions – all of them clearly graded and labelled like the AO2 sample above on the Millau Suspension bridge (Chapter 4 on Accuracy in calculations).  

And here’s a Challenge Yourself question from the Proportionality chapter:

Challenge Yourself... Or better still, challenge your students. Sample question on proportionality. Click to enlarge.

Challenge Yourself questions in every section offer some fun and danger to the brightest students – the questions go beyond GCSE but the underlying maths doesn’t.  We blogged some other samples a few months back – Mean, Meaner, Meanest – as well as answers

Click here to download free sample Chapter 3, Proportionality, or Chapter 4, Accuracy in calculations

The A-A* Practice Book can be ordered here.