Archive for June, 2010

20% VAT – dumbing down maths!

June 30, 2010 Leave a comment

The life of a GCSE maths author is never easy, and a good deal of effort went into making sure that we included both the 15% VAT rate, when we started writing Longman AQA GCSE Maths, and the 2010 VAT rate of 17.5% when we published the resources.

And now, in the interests of bailing out the bank-bail-out, we  know that from January 2011, VAT will be charged at 20%.

So the delights of realising that 17.5% can easily be found by halving 10% twice (as it were), become less real-life-relevant than we’d like!

And a diverse collection of views is gathering at TES Connect. To paraphrase one comment: ‘If only they understood what a percentage is…’ (Guess they’re talking about students rather than politicians here?)

VAT increase calculator

If you want to start comparing rates and price rises straight away, is a great website – click for their ready-made calculator!

The really great news, though, is NOT extending VAT to books!!


World Cup Round-up: Summary of our FREE Maths Classroom activities

As we come to terms with England’s defeat at the weekend to Germany (or rejoice at it, depending on your point of view), we thought this would provide an appropriate moment briefly to re-cap the football-themed resources we’ve produced in recent weeks.

In chronological order, with the most recent posts first:

World Cup Maths: The Curse of the Jabulani – 3D shapes and nets

(Seriously, was this prophetic on some level?  Two days after we posted it, England’s crucial 2nd half goal against Germany is disallowed…)

World Cup Maths: The Mathematician’s Guide to Penalty Shoot-outs – Pythagoras, trigonometry, quadratics, probability

UPDATED World Cup Wall Chart: Free to download – Averages, probability, relative frequency

World Cup maths: the route to the Final! – Number skills, distance-speed-time, scatter graphs

(This activity has been the biggest hit with teachers…)

Cup Final Maths – Free resource! – fractions, decimals, percentages

Countdown to the World Cup! – fractions

(…and this one has been the second biggest hit.)

Maths doesn’t have to be linear (small “l”)…

There’s no single formula (ah-hm) governing how we should teach maths, and there are plenty of strong opinions.

Here’s one very eloquently expressed view that we found on the Prezi site (Prezi is a website that allows you to put together funky-looking presentations, click on the graphic below to see more):

Is Maths circular then? Click to find out.

Our thanks to Alison Bank who created the presentation and to Lewis Birchon for bringing it to our attention (one of many helpful tips).

Exercise your mental maths!

June 28, 2010 Leave a comment

As an antidote to all that couch potato-ing for the World Cup, have a go at this free maths activity – the Running Track (Speed) Game from our Level Up Maths  Key Stage 3 maths resource!

Questions are set at a basic numeracy/mental maths level so you can use it for warming up before a lesson, or as a competitive finale!

Ever wanted to run a race in a giraffe suit? Now’s your chance!

Level Up Maths 'Racetrack' Game

Click here to get to the starting line…

World Cup Maths: The Curse of the Jabulani

June 25, 2010 2 comments

As the England.v.Germany match approaches, some of you (or your Maths class) may be worrying about the Jabulani football, which has been creating so many headlines at the World Cup

We’ve put together a poster, explaining why this football is so different to other footballs…  And included some questions about the nets of 3D objects.  These should provide a neat activity for a Functional Maths lesson and help bring these complex issues closer to home (AQA Functional Maths spec Level 2: “recognise and use 2D representations of 3D objects”, p.11) –

Is the Jabulani really so evil? Click to download full pdf.

Well, the World Cup may be over for England by Monday…  If so, we promise to stop blogging so intensively about it!

World Cup Maths: The Mathematician’s Guide to Penalty Shoot-outs

June 24, 2010 4 comments

With England.v.Germany looming on Sunday, we thought we’d give you a sneak preview of how England are preparing for another of their famous penalty shoot-outs!

We have produced a new World Cup Maths activity.  To advise Steven Gerrard and the boys on their penalty strategy, your students will need to use a combination of trigonometry, quadratics and distance-speed-time.  We’ve also thrown in some probability questions for good measure.  GCSE grades have been applied to all the questions to give an indication of difficulty level.

This activity spread is free for our subscribers.  The good news for maths teachers is that subscribing to this blog is cost-free, spam-free and hassle-free.  Just enter your school email address in the box on the top right of the screen.

World Cup Maths activity: penalty shoot-out. Click to view. Full pdf available to subscribers.

Click here to download the accompanying worksheet.

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Just enter your school email address in the box top right.  You’ll then receive an email asking you to confirm your subscription.  Once you’ve accepted that, we’ll email the activity out to you as a pdf, along with the accompanying worksheet.

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You will receive each of our posts by email, about 2-4 per week.  We never spam our subscribers, and we never share details with any third parties.  Oh, and subscription to this blog is free, has always been free and will always be free. 

Our subscribers are part of our community of maths teachers, we value them and they will continue to receive free resources not available to all browsers of this blog.

UPDATED World Cup Wall Chart: Free to download

World Cup Maths

Well, what a day yesterday was… 

England squeezed a victory over Slovenia, USA stole our position at the top of the table in the dying minutes of their match, and so now we face Germany on Sunday (more on that later…)  Oh yes, and two blokes at Wimbledon decided the best way to stay in their competition was to avoid finishing the match at all.

Anyway, here’s an updated World Cup wall chart, with all the scores up until Tuesday filled in:

World Cup wall chart - the story so far... Click to download full pdf