Archive for September, 2010

Sherlock Holmes Episode 1 solution…

September 29, 2010 Leave a comment

Our thanks to everyone who’s taken part in Episode 1 of our Sherlock Holmes competition: The Mystery of the Devil’s Eye!

In Episode 1, Holmes and Watson are called to Harrods by a frantic Inspector Lestrade: the world’s largest Ruby, the Devil’s Eye, has been stolen and he doesn’t know where to go next.  There are just a few cryptic clues that only a master of deduction, and mathematics, could solve…


Are Holmes and Watson being led around by the nose? Click to download updated map.


Our congratulations to this week’s winners: CLASS 10 Set 3 from Sutton Grammar School in Surrey.

Here’s their answer:

If you work out the volume of the ruby; (area of rectangle + area of trapezium) x length

((10 x 3.5) + (7 x 2.5)) x 11 = 577.5 cubic cm.

The Mass is density x volume;     so 4 x 577.5 = 2310 g

If we split the answer 2310 in to 2 parts we got the co-ordinate (23, 10)


{and the thief keeps talking about eyes at the start of the note}

[We also worked out the thief got through Door B;   if you draw the lasers as lines on the graph, all the doors are blocked except B]

We’ll be sending the winners a Sherlock Holmes DVD and a tin of Cadbury’s Heroes in the post! 



And remember, you can join this competition at any time.  There will be six Episodes in total, with a prize to the winner of each one.  You can keep up-to-date with all details of the competition on this page of our blog.


FREE to enter: Help Sherlock Holmes solve the case and win a Prize in the process!

September 24, 2010 Leave a comment

Quick reminder to teachers: we’ve just launched Episode 1 of our Sherlock Holmes competition, and now’s your chance to help him solve his latest case!

We’re offering a free BBC Sherlock Holmes DVD (the 2010 series) plus a tin of Cadbury’s Heroes to the winner.  Enter on your behalf or with your Maths class – your choice. 

Read Holmes’ case notes and solve the clues:

Episode 1: Help Holmes and Watson solve their first clues, and work out where they must go next! Click to download PDF.

And here’s their map of London: where must Holmes and Watson go next?

Holmes' Handy Map App. Click to download PDF.

Send your solution, along with an explanation of how you worked it out, either by emailing  Or by leaving a comment on this post.

The winner will be chosen at random from all correct answers received by 5pm next Tuesday, 28th September.

Good luck!

AQA GCSE Maths whiteboard software made easy!

September 24, 2010 Leave a comment


AQA GCSE Maths ActiveTeach demo - well worth a look! Click to view

Our ActiveTeach whiteboard software is a very popular component of Longman AQA GCSE Mathematics. Much more than a ‘textbook on screen’ – and not a subscription product! – ActiveTeach for AQA GCSE Mathematics 2010 includes:

  • Over 40 BBC Active videos
  • Interactive Grade Studio for AO2 and AO3 problem-solving practice
  • Class Tracker to record your classes’ progress
  • ‘Watch the examiner’ videos that give insight into exam marks
  • Exam Cafe with lots of revision guidance and support for students

Now we’ve made a nifty Beginners Guide that walks you through AQA GCSE Maths ActiveTeach key features (make yourself a cuppa – it’s about 9 minutes long because there’s so much to show you!!). Click here  or on the image above to start.

Episode 1: Sherlock Holmes Competition – FREE AO3 Maths resource to download

September 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Episode 1: “Smash ‘n’ Grab”

Solve the mathematical clues in this detective story with your students, and help Holmes and Watson to track down the thief of the World’s largest ruby!

This Autumn term, we’re running a fortnightly competition to give AQA GCSE Maths classes some FREE practice of AO2 and AO3 questions.  Each Episode is presented as a two-page entry from Holmes’ own case notes:

Episode 1: Help Holmes and Watson solve their first clues, and work out where they must go next. Click to download PDF.

And here’s the accompanying worksheet:

Watson's Worksheet. Click to download.

How the Competition Works:

1. Download the full Episode, and the Worksheet, by clicking on the 2 images above.  Print these out for your classroom, or project onto your whiteboard.  They contains the narrative of the story with Maths challenges, testing AO3 problem-solving skills. You may find it helpful to use the map of London, which we published in an earlier post.

2. The solution to the Maths challenges is the next location Holmes and Watson must go to.  Submit your solutions, together with an explanation, either by leaving a comment on this post or by sending an email to  Deadline: 5pm on Tuesday 28th September, 2010. 

3. You can send the solution on your own behalf, or on behalf of your GCSE Maths class.  If the latter, please specify the name of the class.  If you have more than one class, you can make more than one entry.

4. The winning solution will be chosen at random from all correct solutions, and published next Wednesday, 29th September.  We will send this prize to the winner: a DVD of the 2010 BBC Sherlock Holmes series and a tin of Cadbury’s Heroes!

5. There will be six episodes in total – teachers can join this competition at any stage.  There’s no need to register and you can send solutions for as many, or as few, of the Episodes as you want.  You can keep up-to-date with every Episode on this dedicated page of our blog.

Full terms and conditions of the competition can be accessed by clicking here

Final Tip: if you’re a Maths teacher and want to take part in this Competition, you’re strongly advised to subscribe to this blog (which, by the way, is cost-free and spam-free).  This means you’ll get all future Episodes emailed straight to your inbox as they’re published.  To subscribe, just enter your school email address in the box top right of your screen.

New subscribers also receive a FREE copy of our AQA GCSE Middle Sets Student Book: essential reading, especially as some of the clues in later Episodes will be hidden inside it…

Sherlock Holmes Competition: starts tomorrow…

September 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Don’t forget, our Sherlock Holmes competition starts tomorrow.

If you’ve been looking for a fun way to “distract” your pupils into learning AO2 and AO3 skills for the new AQA GCSE Maths specification, this is it!

All details of the competition can be found on this page of our blog.  And click here for the  SMALL  print.

AQA Functional Maths teacher resources: FREE samples available to download

September 20, 2010 Leave a comment

Back in the depths of August, we published the teacher resources for our AQA Functional Maths 2010 series: a Teacher Guide and an ActiveTeach DVD-Rom.  Both resources cover Levels 1 & 2.  They fit hand-in-glove with our Functional Student Book, with which a lot of our readers are already familiar.

The Teacher Guide and ActiveTeach are, of course, awesome.  But don’t take our word for it, here are some samples:

AQA Functional Maths ActiveTeach: presents the Student Book on-screen with access to video clips, audio files and interactive content. Click to access FREE online demo.

AQA Functional Maths Teacher Guide: click to download FREE sample chapter on ratio.

Quick note on the Teacher Guide contents: its chapters are matched to the Student Book, and it offers lesson plans, teacher notes, extension material for brighter students, and guided practice for weaker students. The Guide also contains Level 1 and Level 2 practice exam papers, written bespoke for the new 2010 spec.

Click here to order a FREE Evaluation Pack for the Functional series.  Or click here to order any products from the series.

AO2 Practice for GCSE Maths – FREE to download

September 17, 2010 Leave a comment

Here’s the Prologue to our Sherlock Holmes competition that we’re running through the Autumn term.

It contains some devilish AO1 and AO2 questions on:

  • 2D representations of 3D shapes,
  • Planes of symmetry,
  • Coordinates and 
  • Pythagoras’ Theorem.

The Prologue is presented as two pages of case notes from Holmes’ own files.  Display it on your whiteboard in class, or print out a colour copy, and go through it with your students.  You can also print off copies for them of the worksheet, below, which clearly sets out the AO1 and AO2 questions:

Prologue: Practice AO1 and AO2 questions, while getting a hint about challenge in store for Holmes this Autumn term... Click to download PDF.

And here’s the accompanying worksheet:

Watson's worksheet. Click to download.

This is just the Prologue, so no prize yet for sending in the correct answers.  That starts with the Episode 1, which we publish next Wednesday, 22nd September.

Remember: we are keeping the whole story, plus the rules of the competition, updated on a dedicated page of our blog.