Archive for August, 2010

A new school year, a new qualification… Last chance to receive FREE Functional Maths Student Book!

August 25, 2010 1 comment

Our offer closes next Tuesday, 31st August.

Enter your school email address in the box top right of your screen, and you will receive a FREE AQA Functional Maths Student Book! 

Existing subscribers can claim their free copy by leaving a message below this post (which we won’t publish, unless you want us to).


GCSE results – well worth celebrating!

August 24, 2010 Leave a comment

You’re celebrating your students’ latest GCSE results, so it’s ‘box of chocolates’ time!  

Click here to (ah-hm) open the box...

Now watch Glyn Payne, Series Editor of our new AQA GCSE Maths 2010 series, talk about linking chocolates with a Grade C, through AO3 questions. And ensure that your results with the new AQA spec are even better!

Glyn Payne talks AO3 and chocolates - click to watch 2 minute video.

A-level maths results: popularity spurt!

August 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Who remembers the good old days (around 1990) when there were about 80 000 candidates for A-level Maths? There’s hope that this peak has been reached again – 2009’s total for the full A-level Maths was 72 000, and everyone’s expecting a boost this week for 2010. Will MEI’s prediction of 10% more ASs and 18% more full A-levels be correct?


(Secondary school rolls are currently still declining, so it certainly can’t be a population thing. )

Our poll last month showed resounding support for retaining AS Maths as a staging post to A-level. There were zero votes for ‘AS wouldn’t be missed.’ And ACME have taken up the issue with the government.

We certainly don’t think that the new AQA 2010 GCSE specs are dumbed down at all, so they should build even stronger foundations to encourage students to take their maths further.

Here’s hoping that this time next week your students will have achieved all the Grade Bs they need to continue on to AS Maths! Check out this blog on GCSE Results day to see the first of our new videos supporting your teaching the AQA GCSE Maths 2010 specs…

FREE RESOURCES – We’ve put them in all in one place…

August 13, 2010 2 comments

We were browsing another Maths blog the other day – Maths Teaching, written by a teacher from Berkshire – and were thinking how helpful all her free GCSE resources are…

And then we remembered we’d created a heap of free resources ourselves.  The only problem is that they were in a not particularly helpful heap – you had to search here, there and everywhere on our blog to find them.

So to make life easier for everyone, we’ve now gathered them all into one place, indexed them (in a simplistic sort of way), et voila: our Free Resources webpage is now officially launched!

Here’s a fresh sample on the London Marathon (covering mean and range) from our newly published Functional Maths Student Book:

Not everyone was born to run... Click to download pdf - 4MB, so be patient!

So feel free to make whatever use of these you like.  For anyone reading our blog for the first time: these resources have been written to support AQA GCSE and AQA Functional Maths.  We’re the Maths publishing team at Longman and we hope you like what you find.

FREE Offer until 31st August

If you want a FREE copy of the Functional Maths Student Book, just enter your school email address in the box top right of your screen.  You’ll be subscribing to our blog (cost-free, spam-free, hassle-free), which means you’ll get each of our posts, and any new free resources, straight to your email.  We post 3-4 times per week during the term, 1-2 times during the holidays. 

Existing subscribers can claim a free copy by leaving a message at the bottom of this post (we will not publish your message, unless you want us to).

Holiday Reading: Alex’s Adventures in Numberland

Here’s another holiday reading idea that we had: Alex’s Aventures in Numberland by Alex Bellos.  This is a popular Maths title – remarkably, the hardback edition has now spent several months in the Amazon Top 100 books (no.73 when we checked today).

Worth a look, we thought…

And, as it turns out, worth a read.

First chapter goes back to the origin of counting.  Turns out that some Amazonian tribes don’t count beyond 5.  In fact, Stone Age Man (and modern children, come to that) tend to think of numbers logarithmically.  That’s to say: they perceive the gap between 10 and 100 as being the same size as the gap between 100 & 1000.  That’s a striking observation that turns out to be more logical than it seems.  As Bellos points out, our spatial perception is logarithmic.  An object 1km away does not seem to be 10 times the distance of an object 100m away – more like twice the distance. 

As children grow older, they perceive numbers in an increasingly “normal” way. (Mind you – a colleague pointed out that that process appeared to go into reverse again during the Credit Crunch and bank bail-out… £1bn needed?  £10bn anyone?)  The chapter moves on in pleasantly random fashion to look at the counting skills of chimpanzees (rather impressive as it happens) and other delightful digressions.

Did you know?

Another favorite bit is in Chapter 4 on mathletes and human calculators.   The various world records in this field are all as startling as each other.  For example, Alberto Coto holds the record for the fastest mental multiplication of eight digit numbers.  He took 8 minutes & 25 seconds to perform 10 multiplications of two 8-digit numbers…  Not very useful, but certainly quick.  Another that has attracted interest (and a few headlines) is Frenchman Alexis Lemaire who, in 2007, took just 70 seconds to calculate the 13th root of a 200 digit number.  (For reference: it takes about 70 seconds to read out a 200 digit number.)  It should be said, this is considered by some more a feat of memory than calculation.

There are plenty of reviews available.  Here’s one in the Guardian, and here’s another in the Independent.

Next up on our holiday reading list: Michael Brook’s 13 Things That Don’t Make Sense – The most intriguing scientific mysteries of our times (not strictly Maths, but not far off).

Congratulations to our July Prize Draw winners!

We’ve sent out Amazon vouchers today to the five winners of our July Prize Draw.  Winners this time have come from Lincolnshire, Cumbria, Northumberland, Merseyside…and one from Essex.

We trust they’ll spend the money wisely!

Meantime, a quick note to all readers: our monthly Prize Draw is open to Subscribers to this blog.  To subscribe, you just need to enter your school email address in the box, top right of the screen.  Subscription is free, and you will receive each of our posts by email: 2-4 per week during term time, 1-2 per week during the holidays.  You will not receive any spam, and we will not share your details with any 3rd parties. 

We encourage subscription because we’re building a community of Maths teachers.  We’ve made a lot of free resources available to our subscribers, and they’ve given us valuable feedback.  It seems to work.